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The Standard (Hong Kong)

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The Standard
TypeDaily free newspaper
  • Broadsheet (former)
  • Tabloid (since 2000)
Owner(s)The Standard Newspapers Publishing (part of Sing Tao News Corporation,
majority stake in turn held by
Guo Xiaoting, vice-chairwoman of
Kaisa Group)
Founder(s)Aw Boon Haw
PublisherThe Standard Newspapers Publishing
  • 1949
  • 1986 (evening edition)[1]
Political alignmentPro-Beijing
Ceased publication1987 (evening edition only)[1]
CountryHong Kong
Circulation200,450 (as of 2012)[2]
Sister newspapers
  • Sing Tao Daily (in Chinese)
  • Headline Daily (in Chinese, free)
  • Sing Tao Wan Pao (in Chinese, defunct)[3]
  • Singapore Standard (in English, defunct)
  • other newspaper founded by Aw
  • other newspaper owned by Sally Aw
The Standard
Traditional Chinese英文虎報
Simplified Chinese英文虎报
Literal meaningEnglish Language Tiger Newspaper

The Standard is an English-language free newspaper in Hong Kong with a daily circulation of 200,450 in 2012.[2] It was formerly called the Hongkong Standard[4] and changed to HKiMail during the Internet boom[when?] but partially reverted to The Standard in 2001.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) is its main local competitor.


The Standard is printed in tabloid format rather than in broadsheet. It is published daily from Monday to Friday.


The Standard was published by Hong Kong iMail Newspapers Limited As of 2001[5][6] (previously known as Hong Kong Standard Newspapers Limited)[6][7] but currently The Standard Newspapers Publishing Limited.[2] These enterprises are owned by Sing Tao News Corporation Limited, also the publisher of Sing Tao Daily[8] and Headline Daily;[9] the firm also has other businesses including media publications, human capital management and Broadband service.[citation needed]

The Standard was previously owned by Sally Aw's Sing Tao Holdings Limited. Aw is the daughter of the founder Aw Boon Haw. In 1999 Holdings was acquired by a private equity fund,[10] and in January 2001 by Charles Ho's listed company Global China Technology Group Limited[11] (whose name was changed to Sing Tao News Corporation Limited in February 2005).[8]: 24  In mid-2002 the ownership of an intermediate holding company of The Standard, Sing Tao Media Holdings, was transferred to Sing Tao News Corporation.[12][13] At the same time Sing Tao Holdings, without its main business, was sold to a Chinese private company.[12]


The Standard was originally named the Hong Kong Tiger Standard. The newspaper was founded by Tycoon Aw Boon Haw after the end of the Chinese Civil War.[citation needed] He incorporated the publisher The Tiger Standard Limited on 23 May 1947.[14] On the backs of financially successful Sing Tao Daily and Tiger Balm, he attacked the English-language newspaper market by launching the paper on 1 March 1949 to give a Chinese voice to the world and to advance the interests of Chinese in all their endeavours and defend them against all kinds inequalities, challenging the procolonial establishment press.[15] It started life as a broadsheet, largely edited and run by Chinese, though not to the exclusion of other nationals.[15] Politically, it shared the Sing Tao and Aw's allegiance to the Kuomintang.[15]

These early editors were all thoroughly U.S. educated and trained, the first being L.Z. Yuan (father-in-law of Golden Harvest founder, Raymond Chow). There followed C.S. Kwei, a leading Chinese lawyer and bilingual intellectual–author, and Kyatang Woo, an alumnus of University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.[15] In 1985 Robert Chow, who later became a staunch and vocal pro-establishment advocate of restrictive democratic elections for Hong Kong's chief executive, became the editor in chief of The Standard and worked there until the 1990s.[16]

During the 1990s, when Sally Aw (Aw Sian, adopted daughter of Aw Boon Haw) chaired Sing Tao News Corporation Limited, The Standard was the only English newspaper in Hong Kong that was allowed to be circulated in China.[citation needed]

In 1994 a third English-language newspaper, the Eastern Express, appeared. Its bold headlines and large photographs provoked a radical redesign at the Standard, which also suffered the loss of a great many reporters, sub-editors, and advertising to the Eastern Express, tempted by its boasts of generous pay. The new paper quickly pushed the Standard into third place for full-price sales. The Standard adopted a distinctive orange and black masthead and an advertising campaign that used a carrot logo and the maxim "clearer vision." Meanwhile, an emergency recruitment drive brought in new staff from the UK and Tasmania, mostly from regional newspapers and on fixed contracts. Its Sunday supplement, Hong Kong Life, began free distribution in bars and clubs.[citation needed]

On 27 May 2000, facing challenges from its biggest competitor the South China Morning Post,[17] the Hongkong Standard was renamed Hong Kong iMail (Chinese: 香港郵報) and reduced to tabloid size[17] to attract more younger readers,[17] and was refocused on business issues. On 30 May 2002, following the burst of the dot-com bubble, the paper reverted to being The Standard.[citation needed]

The current editor in chief is Ivan Tong, who replaced Mark Clifford.[citation needed]

From 10 September 2007, The Standard, then sold at HK$6, became a free newspaper.[citation needed] It is now Hong Kong's first and only free English newspaper. The newspaper is considered pro-Beijing in its editorial stance.[18]

Circulation fraud

In August 1996 the Independent Commission Against Corruption in Hong Kong found that 14,000 copies of the paper had been discarded at Wan Chai Pier and therefore started an investigation. The ICAC discovered that from 1994 to 1997 the circulation figures of the Hong Kong Sunday Standard and the Hongkong Standard had been routinely and substantially exaggerated, in order to attract advertisers and to raise the revenue of the newspapers. Circulation figures had always been somewhat obscure, owing to the Sing Tao group's longstanding agreements with hotels and clubs where the newspaper was distributed free.

As a result, the ICAC arrested three staff members of the Hongkong Standard and investigated Aw Sian as co-conspirator. The case was heard from 23 November 1998 to 20 January 1999, at the conclusion of which all three were found guilty and sentenced to 4 to 6 months in jail. Aw Sian was not charged, after the secretary of justice Elsie Leung decided not to prosecute her owing to insufficient evidence and in the public interest.[19] The decision generated controversy among a skeptical public who saw this as discrimination in favour of the powerful and well-connected.[20]


  1. ^ a b 英文虎報晚報今起停刊. Ta Kung Pao (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Hong Kong. 4 July 1987. p. 4 – via Hong Kong Public Libraries MMIS.
  2. ^ a b c "Certificate of circulations" (PDF). Hong Kong Audit Bureau of Circulations Limited. 2012 [circa]. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 October 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  3. ^ 丁, 潔. 《華僑日報》與香港華人社會(1925–1995) (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Joint Publishing. p. 25 – via Google Books preview.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "2001 audited financial statements" (Index of download link of multiple PDF files). 2001 Annual Report. Hong Kong: Sing Tao Holdings. 9 May 2002. p. 76. Retrieved 2 October 2017 – via Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
  7. ^ Leung, Elsie (4 February 1999). "Statement by the Secretary for Justice at the LegCo AJLS Panel" (Press release). Hong Kong Government website. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  8. ^ a b "2004 Annual Report" (PDF). Sing Tao News Corporation. 2005. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  9. ^ "2016 Annual Report" (PDF). Sing Tao News Corporation. 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  10. ^ Mungan, Christina (24 March 1999). Written at Hong Kong. "Sing Tao's Aw Agrees to Sell Off Her Controlling Stake to Lazard". The Wall Street Journal. New York City.
  11. ^ "Lazard's Sale of Sing Tao Holdings Proved Some of Its Skeptics Wrong". The Wall Street Journal. 11 January 2001. Retrieved 30 September 2017 – via UWA Library's ProQuest subscription.
  12. ^ a b "Circular (Disclosable Transaction, Disposal of 74.5% Interests in Sing Tao Holdings Limited)" (PDF). Global China Technology Group. 2 August 2002. Retrieved 30 September 2017 – via Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
  13. ^ "Circular (Voluntary Conditional Securities Exchange Offer by Global China Corporate Finance Limited on behalf of Global China Multimedia Limited to acquire all the issued shares in Sing Tao Media Holdings Limited)" (PDF). Global China Technology Group. 2 September 2002. Retrieved 30 September 2017 – via Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
  14. ^ Filing in the Hong Kong Companies Registry
  15. ^ a b c d Castro, Alan (26 March 1999). "Tiger roars for HK". The Standard. Archived from the original on 29 December 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  16. ^ Kang-chung, Ng (28 July 2014). "Robert Chow Yung: There is another voice in Hong Kong". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  17. ^ a b c I.N. (5 June 2000). "Hong Kong Gets a Tabloid". Time. Retrieved 30 September 2017. ......rechristened the Hong Kong I-Mail (the I stands for interactive, as the paper will provide handy links to its website). The goal is to take the paper down market and attract younger readers....
  18. ^ Sonny Shiu-Hing Lo; Steven Chung-Fun Hung; Jeff Hai-Chi Loo (2019). China's New United Front Work in Hong Kong: Penetrative Politics and Its Implications. Springer. p. 307. ISBN 9789811384837.
  19. ^ de Silva, Neville (5 February 1999). "Why I didn't prosecute Sally Aw". The Standard. Archived from the original on 29 December 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  20. ^ "Newspaper chief faces fresh probe over fraud". The Standard. 29 January 1999. Archived from the original on 29 December 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  • The Newspaper Society of Hong Kong (2004). 香港報業50載印記 [50 Years of Hong Kong Newspaper] (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Ming Pao Newspapers Limited.
  • Sing Tao News Corporation Annual Report 2004
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The Standard (Hong Kong)
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