M’sia’s Leading Chinese Media Group Plans To Lay Off 44% Of Its Staff & Embrace AI

The group has begun internal training for employees to equip them with AI skills.
Malaysia’s leading Chinese media group, Media Chinese International Limited (MEDIAC, 5090, Main Board Telco Media) is considering implementing artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline operations and cut costs.

Media Chinese International Limited operates four prominent Chinese-language newspapers in Malaysia: Sin Chew Daily, Nanyang Siang Pau, China Press, and Guang Ming Daily. The company also owns Ming Pao and Yazhou Zhoukan overseas.

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Media chinese international limited
Photo via Media Chinese International Limited

Embrace AI to reduce workforce

A Kenanga Research analyst highlighted that Media Chinese International Limited is evaluating AI tools to simplify content distribution.

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These tools can publish press releases across multiple digital platforms in minutes, generate accompanying videos, and use AI hosts to present news.

The efficiency brought by AI is expected to lead to at least a 30% reduction in staff within two years.

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Media Chinese International Limited has begun internal training for employees to equip them with AI skills.

Media chinese international limited lays off
Generated by AI.

More cost-cutting measures

According to NST, Media Chinese will gradually reduce its workforce to about 1,000 over a medium term of up to five years only after the merger of Sin Chew Daily and Nanyang Siang Pau, according to group chief executive officer Francis Tiong.

“With internal structural and reorganization, the merger or consolidation of Sin Chew and Nanyang groups, closure of Johor and Penang plants and the application of AI across all units of operations, we can reduce our staff to 1,000 over a period of two, three, or even five years,” he told the English daily.

It is understood that labor costs currently constitute 50% of the company’s total expenses, followed by newsprint at 20%.

The analyst also mentioned that if publishing costs rise further, the company might shut down its printing facilities in Johor and Penang, consolidating operations at its Petaling Jaya plant in Selangor.

Changes in Facebook’s news feed algorithm have also significantly reduced traffic to the company’s news websites, leading to a sharp decline in advertising revenue.

To counter the decrease in digital ad revenue, Media Chinese International Limited plans to launch the MCIL Ad Manager, a self-service ad platform aimed at attracting small and medium-sized advertisers with lower prices.

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