I saw an article starts with: "A company to launch a new product", in a news paper. I just wonder what does it mean? Is it a kind of usage of near future? (e.g. is to do something)

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    This is headlinese, an artificial syntax contrived to minimize the length of headlines. The sense is, as you perceive, [Company] is to launch a new product. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 8 '14 at 21:45

As @StoneyB indicated, it's headlinese. Here's a general reference: https://www.google.com/search?q=define+headlinese

You can transform it into standard English one of two ways, "is to" or "is going to". The former is more formal or used in specialized situations.

  1. Apple to launch new iPhone in 2014(Headlinese)
  2. Apple is to launch a new iPhone in 2014. (Formal or stylized. Announcement.)
  3. Apple is going to launch a new iPhone in 2014. (Standard English.)

One would choose between #2 or #3 for stylistic reasons. Of course, some style guides would mandate #2. Also, in a tight business presentation, one may prefer to use the shorter form (#2). On the other hand, if one didn't want to sound so strict and official, they could use #3 even in an otherwise formal setting.

Related Info: To round-out this answer with some closely related grammatical structures, consider the following sentences:

  • Mary is going to the store. (A simple declarative statement.)
  • Mary is to the store.* (Doesn't work.)
  • Mary is to go to the store. (A declaration of a command.)
  • Mary is to leave the store. (A declaration of a command.)
  • Mary is going to leave the store. (A declaration of something as a fact, especially if spoken to someone and Mary isn't listening.)
  • Mary is going to leave the store, now. (If said sternly in front of others, including Mary, this is rhetorically letting both others and Mary of the speaker's desire.)
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