July 08, 2020
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Christopher Forbes

The vice-chairman of Forbes Inc. has plans for India, but hes not telling

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Christopher Forbes
Do you have any plans for an Indian edition?
We'd like to be here. But haven't worked out the how yet.

You were negotiating with some Indian media houses last year. What happened?
Not negotiating but having conversations. Like a girl who goes to a dance. She eyes a lot of guys but it means nothing till she puts a name down on her dance card.

So have you put a name down?
Not yet. We are a very long way from it.

Your other international editions are in local languages. What language would the Indian edition be in?
English is nowhere close to being a local language in any of those countries. Here it is the leading language, so we'll stick with English.

The Indian Government doesn't permit foreign holding in the Indian print media. Has that hampered your plans?
No. We don't have ownership in our two other international editions either. We will not have a stake in our Indian edition if we ever launch one.

Unlike other big media groups, Forbes is a closely held family company. Does that hamper growth?
Admitted we aren't as big as we might have been. But we've never been tempted to grow on debt. Decision-making is faster in a smaller company.

Forbes never looked beyond America till it launched its foreign editions a few years back. Why the sudden outward move?
Serendipity. It was never planned, it just happened. We're glad.

How successful have these editions been?
The Japanese edition is going strong. But we're nervous about our Hong Kong product because China is not exactly known for giving freedom to the press.

What kind of an Indian partner would you be looking for?
Our options are open. We could be in a magazine, a newspaper or on Internet.

How are your new supplements—FYI and ASAP—doing?
They have helped us service our readers. Despite this being the era of television, the average Forbes reader spent 11.5 hours more on the magazine last year.

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