Sat, May 03, 2003 - Page 10 News List

New newspaper hopes to shake up Taiwan`s market

AP AND DPA , TAIPEI

Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai (黎智英) launched his Apple Daily newspaper in Taiwan yesterday, with a promise to shake up the newspaper world by using splashy graphics, sensational headlines and celebrity gossip.

A price war was triggered as soon as the 160-page paper hit the newsstands. Apple Daily is selling at NT$5 per copy for 15 days and NT$10 for 15 days before settling down to NT$15 per copy.

Two leading papers, the China Times and United Daily News slashed their prices by a third to NT$10 this week. They're also using more and larger photos.

Apple Daily has spent lavishly for months on an advertising campaign featuring Chinese-Canadian actress Christy Chung (鍾麗緹) posing nude behind a bunch of apples.

The paper looks like its popular Hong Kong cousin, which shares the same name and owner. Stories are brief and punchy, with large photos in elaborate collages.

Apply Daily, which has a targeted circulation of 750,000 copies in Taiwan, has five sections -- news, business, celebrity, travel/consumer and sports.

Yesterday's edition looks more like a tabloid because it lacks in-depth news and splashed a lot of color photos on every page.

The paper devoted its first eight pages to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in the country. But deeper in the paper were gory crime stories and other topics that Taiwanese newspapers traditionally dismiss as lowbrow fluff.

"They still don't know how to put out a serious newspaper. Maybe they will improve," Taipei teacher Wang Shu-li said at a newsstand.

But Huang Ying-yang, a journalism student at the Chinese Culture University, said his fellow students snapped up a copy of Apple Daily out of curiosity -- and because of its low price.

``The paper has displayed superb reporting,'' Huang said. ``The bold use of photos creates a stronger effect.''

Lai plans to sell 400,000-500,000 copies of Apple Daily a day, half the circulation of China Times. Lai hopes to break even after one year and begin to make profits thereafter.

"Lai does not want to win over existing newspaper readers. He wants to create new readers," Apple Daily's editor-in-chief Chen Yu-hsin (陳裕鑫) said by phone.

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