Early Chinese Advertising Research of the North-China Herald: 1850-1864


“The North-China Herald” is Chinese first modern foreign language newspaper after the opening of Shanghai. It is also one of the longest and most influential English newspapers in China in modern Chinese history. The British auctioneer Henry Shearman went to China to bring the hand-printing press for producing newspapers. On August 3, 1850, “the North-China Herald” was launched. On the inaugural issue, Henry Shearman introduced himself as an auctioneer from Prince Edward Island, England. Before becoming the master of this weekly magazine, he was the advertising representative of Beaufort.

“The North-China Herald” has been adapting to the development of Shanghai society since entering the Chinese market. Based on a comprehensive investigation of the production process of the early Chinese advertisement of the North-China Herald(1850-1864), this paper sorts out the development of Chinese advertising in the North-China Herald, and analyzes the progressive self-development process of the early Chinese advertisements in the North-China Herald from the two dimensions of advertising development and social historical evolution. It is further found that “the North-China Herald” not only resonated with the environment, but also carried out localization adjustment in Shanghai, thus establishing a deep and complicated relationship with the historical changes of Chinese society at that time.

As an English newspaper for modern foreigners in China, “the North-China Herald” mainly serves foreigners living in China. However, different forms of Chinese elements appear in its advertising content, and even directly presented to readers in Chinese. The existing research aimed at “the North-China Herald” mainly focuses on the meaning of “the North-China Herald”, the relationship between China and the world in the late Qing Dynasty, Shanghai local issues and a few related to natural science content. Its research still lacks the perspective of “global localization”. Based on this, this paper attempts to raise the following questions from the perspective of global localization: Why is there a Chinese element in an English newspaper created by foreigners in China? What is the process of producing Chinese advertisements in “the North-China Herald”? What is the connection between the Chinese advertisement of “the North-China Herald” and the society?