Free newspaper war in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has free dailies since 2002 when Metro launched. Headline Daily, AM730 (both 2005) and The Standard (2007, former paid business paper) brought the total number of papers to four. In total these free daily newspapers have a joint circulation of 1.7 million, with Headline Daily being the largest (800,000 copies). The Standard is published in English, the others in Chinese.
The number of free dailies, however, almost doubled in the last months. The Hong Kong free newspaper war kicked off with the launch of Headlinefinance in July, a free financial newspaper by Headline Daily publisher Sing Tao (right). The paper was introduced as an insert in Headline Daily but from August on it was also available separately. The paper can be read online as e-paper as well. Stand-alone circulation of the paper is unknown.
The Hong Kong Economic Times started a free Chinese-language daily, called Sky Post (left) on July 27 – print run 500,000. The paper counts 32 pages daily and carries as slogan “Happy Everyday”. Sky Post claims to be Funny, Inspiring, Surprising and Trendy and focuses on local and entertainment news. Also Sky Post has an e-paper version.
Next Media, owned by tycoon Jimmy Lai and publisher of paid paper Apple Daily has launched a Chinese langage free newspaper called Sharp Daily on September 17. The paper claims a circulation of 800,000. The paper so far only has a mobile website. A video of the launch is on YouTube. Next Media already publishes a free Sharp Daily In Taiwan. This edition started in 2006 and has a circulation of 175,000.
Also the Oriental Press Group (Oriental Daily) is expected to launch a new Chinese language title.
Meanwhile, the Sing Tao News Corporation acquired a new printing press that is capable of increasing the print run of Headline Daily to 1.5 million (from 800,000 copies now).