The Standard

The Standard

"The Standard" (zh-t|t=英文虎報 Pinyin:Yīngwén Hǔbào ) is an English free newspaper of Hong Kong. It was called the Hong Kong Standard and changed to HKiMail during the Internet boom, but it changed back to The Standard in 2001.

From 10 September 2007, The Standard, which was originally sold at HK$6 each, became a free newspaper. It is now Hong Kong's first and only free English newspaper, which has seen the editorial direction shift towards a more controversial "tabloid" style of coverage, whilst also shifting to a more pro Government, pro-cartel, nationalistic position.

The South China Morning Post and the International Herald Tribune are its main local competitors.


"The Standard" is printed in tabloid-format rather than in broadsheet, unlike other English-language newspapers in Hong Kong. It is published daily from Monday to Saturday.

"Weekend Standard" was published during weekends before The Standard became a free newspaper. The issue, which covers both Saturdays and Sundays, comes out on Saturday. Certain sections, namely the "Market", "Entertainment", "Focus" and "Opinion" sections, are not published in "Weekend Standard".


"The Standard" is published by Sing Tao Newspaper Limited, which is also the publisher of "Sing Tao Daily" and "Headline Daily". This enterprise is owned by Sing Tao News Corporation Limited, a firm owning other businesses including media publications, human capital management and Broadband service. The Global China Group Holdings acquired 51% of Sing Tao Holdings Ltd. in January 2001 and changed its name in 2005. The Chairman of Sing Tao News Corporation Limited is Ho Tsu Kwok, Charles (何柱國).


"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. 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 pro-colonial establishment press.cite news|title = Tiger roars for HK|publisher = The Standard |last = Castro|first = Alan| date = 26 March 1999 | accessdate = 2007-03-21 | url =] It started life as a broadsheet, largely be edited and run by Chinese, but without the exclusion of other nationals. Politically, it shared the Sing Tao's and Aw's allegiance to the Kuomingtang.

These early editors were all thoroughly US 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 Missouri University.

During the 1990s, when Sally, 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.

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 which boasted openly of its 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, Hongkong Life, began free distribution in bars and clubs. The quality of the paper's news journalism, however, remained low.

In 27 May 2000, facing challenges from its biggest competitor the "South China Morning Post", the "Hong Kong Standard" was renamed as "Hong Kong iMail" (香港郵報) and was reduced to tabloid-size in order to attract more young Chinese readers and refocused on business issues. In 30 May 2002, following the explosion of the Internet Bubble, "iMail" was once again renamed as "The Standard".

The Editor-in-Chief is Ivan Tong, who replaced Mark Clifford.

On 3 September 2007, it was reported that The Standard was set to re-align itself as a free newspaper to be distributed in commercial districts like Central and Admiralty. [ [ Standard to become free newspaper] - RTHK, 3 September 2007]

Circulation fraud

In August 1996, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Hong Kong found out that 14,000 copies of the paper had been discarded in 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 "Hong Kong 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, due 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 "Hong Kong Standard" and charged Aw Sian as co-conspirator. This case was examined and deliberated from 23 November 1998 to 20 January 1999. Finally, the three staff members were found guilty, and sentenced to jail for 4 to 6 months. Aw Sian was not prosecuted. The decision generated a large controversy among the public, and raised the question of legal discrimination and injustice environment in arbitration. [cite news|title = Newspaper chief faces fresh probe over fraud|publisher = The Standard | date = 29 January 1999 | accessdate = 2007-03-21 | url =]

Nevertheless, the Secretary of Justice, Ms Elsie Leung justified her decided not to prosecute Aw Sian on the basis of insufficient evidence and public interest. [cite news|title = Why I didn't prosecute Sally Aw|publisher = The Standard |last = de Silva|first = Neville| date = 5 February 1999 | accessdate = 2007-03-21 | url =]

Other information

*The cover price of "The Standard" was HK$6, but it is now free.
*Its former slogan was "TELLS IT LIKE IT IS".
*The reformated freesheet version of the "The Standard" carries the slogan "First Past the Post".



* Newspaper Society of Hong Kong, The(2004), "50 Years of Hong Kong Newspaper"(香港報業50載印記). Hong Kong: Ming Pao Newspapers Limited.
* Sing Tao News Corporation Annual Report 2004

External links

* [ The Standard website]

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