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The 'Big Issue' magazine launched in Taiwan

The 'Big Issue' magazine launched in Taiwan

The Chinese version of the London-based The Big Issue magazine - a magazine sold by homeless people on the streets - was launched in Taiwan recently, facing unknown prospects.
Fines Lee, founder and editor-in-chief of the Chinese version, said he and his partners are bracing for challenges of all kinds running the magazine, at a time when online literature and electronic books are flourishing while traditional printed publications are on the wane.
"Each step is a challenge for us," said Lee, whose magazine has a staff of three, including himself.
Even though many of his friends have painted an uncertain picture of his new business, Lee, an Internet whiz and founder of Blog.Roodo.com - an online chatroom for art and culture - said that running the magazine provides him with a clear sense of direction and at the same time helps homeless people, called "street friends" in Mandarin in Taiwan, regain their dignity.
The Chinese version of The Big Issue magazine - the first social business model of its kind in Taiwan - made its debut April 1, with an inaugural print run of 100,000 copies.
Lee said his company had so far recruited 30 homeless people willing to be the first group of vendors selling the magazine at 29 exits of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system in Taipei City and Taipei County.
Each of them were given 20 free copies to help them kick start their own operations. After that, the vendors will earn NT$50 (US$1.6) from the sale of each magazine, which is priced at NT$100, Lee said.
Lee's company has also recruited volunteers to help monitor the vendors to prevent undesired behavior or to help them sell, he said.
The magazine, written in a populist style featuring sci-tech products, fashion trends, design, environmental issues, essays, culture, travel and the performing arts, is also available at convenience stores in other parts of Taiwan, he added.
"The next issue of the magazine will be published May 1 and we hope to publish every two weeks after that," he said.


Updated : 2021-05-15 23:51 GMT+08:00