Mon, Feb 09, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Hong Kong’s ‘South China Morning Post’ to launch in Taiwan

DPA , TAIPEI

Hong Kong’s English-language daily the South China Morning Post (SCMP) plans to launch a bilingual newspaper in Taiwan in response to increasing ties between China and Taiwan, a newspaper reported yesterday.

The Chinese-language Economic Daily News said the SCMP intended to hire several economic and finance experts as it prepares to launch a Taiwan edition.

After hiring local reporters for political and economic affairs, the newspaper will launch a local online version of the SCMP in six months’ time and decide later if it should also publish a print edition, the Economic Daily News quoted an unnamed source as saying.

The funding for the Taiwan version of the paper would come from Hong Kong, a transnational bank in Taiwan and some members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

The SCMP decided to launch a paper in Taiwan because it expects Taiwan to play a greater role in economic and trade issues as a result of improved Taipei-Beijing ties since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office on May 20.

The Economic Daily News said the SCMP first conducted a survey on the newspaper market in Taiwan.

Since Taiwan already has three English daily newspapers and its market for English papers is saturated, the newspaper decided to focus on online operations with most content in Chinese, but some information in English.

The 106-year-old daily is the leading English newspaper in Hong Kong with some 100,000 subscribers and is known as one of the top English-language dailies in Asia.

If it launches a Taiwan version, it will become the second Hong Kong newspaper to break into the Taiwanese market. In 2003, Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai (黎智英) began publishing the Apple Daily in Taiwan, while his Next Magazine began in 2001.

Although initially criticized by Taiwanese as gossipy and sensational, the Apple Daily quickly became one of the bestselling newspapers in Taiwan. Its daily circulation has reached 526,000 copies and is threatening the survival of other dailies. Next Magazine weekly is the bestselling news magazine in Taiwan.

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