Weekly slashes price as battle escalates

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 December, 1995, 12:00am

THE newspaper war intensified last night when news magazine Eastweek slashed its price from $18 to $8.

Eastweek is a sister publication of the Oriental Daily News, which started the battle more than a week ago by cutting its price to $2 in the face of competition from Jimmy Lai Chee-ying's Apple Daily.

Mr Lai publishes Next Magazine, Eastweek's rival and the market leader.

Editor-in-chief Cheung Kim-hung said the magazine would not cut its $18 price.

'We don't believe there will be a significant impact on our circulation,' he said last night.

But because of Christmas, the magazine had decided to print 'a few thousand' copies fewer for its issue due out tomorrow, Mr Cheung said.

Both magazines usually comprise two sections - one covering general, political and business news, and the second entertainment and lifestyles.

Eastweek is on sale today, but delivery to vendors was delayed last night because of what was believed to be a substantial increase in the print run.

Earlier yesterday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal said it was dropping its Sunday edition from January 1. It denied the move was linked to the price war, which has forced two papers out of business.

The Economic Journal, which has kept its price at $5, said the move had been planned for some time.

Hong Kong Journalists' Association president Ivan Tong Kam-piu did not believe there would be job losses because the Sunday edition of the Economic Journal was produced by the same team as the Monday to Saturday newspapers.

Mr Tong said it was difficult to assess the impact of the price war on the journal but 'every single newspaper in town has been affected'.

Its competitor, Hong Kong Economic Times, does not have a Sunday edition.

The Express News and pro-Taiwan United Daily News closed with the loss of 550 jobs on Saturday.