FEW things put a smile on an editor's face faster than a substantial rise in readership or circulation. With a recent whopping 27 per cent jump in the readership of the South China Morning Post, it is not difficult to understand why editor Jonathan Fenby's grin has reached Cheshire cat proportions. But, despite the obvious satisfaction, there is no hint of complacency from the man who stepped into a world in flux when he joined the Post five months ago after a distinguished career in the hotbed of newspaper competition, Britain. 'The paper's dominance in its section of the market means that, in effect, we have to provide our own competition,' Mr Fenby said. 'We have to keep saying to ourselves, 'Well, it's very good to have so much of the market and to be much stronger than any other English-language newspaper', but that isn't good enough. 'We have to avoid the complacency of falling back into a 'let's roll along' philosophy. This means we have to keep thinking, 'What new things can we do; what else do readers want; how can we build on the paper's strengths for the future?' 'We are having discussions this autumn looking at how we can further reshape different parts of the paper. 'We have already done quite a lot of things on the Sunday paper, redefining some sections and introducing new elements. We have also brought in some changes in the weekday paper, but we are in the process of having a deep look at the Monday to Saturday paper - not in a revolutionary manner, more as a matter of evolution. 'We have a paper with great editorial strengths, which have impressed me since I arrived here five months ago,' Mr Fenby said. 'It is a very strong supplier of information across the board and, at the same time, a newspaper with a tremendous range of features, comment and analysis. 'All the while, and with every edition, we have to keep ourselves lively and avoid the danger which one has seen with some newspapers in the past of getting too set in your ways - and then somebody else comes along and catches you out.' While Mr Fenby readily acknowledges that being at the helm of a newspaper holding such a dominant market share is a new experience for him, there is little about the technological revolution sweeping the Post that he has not been part of before. 'Back in Britain, three newspapers that I worked at over the last 10 years were each in the midst of technological change,' he said. 'At The Independent, when it launched back in 1986, we introduced lots of new technology into editorial; technology that wasn't being very widely used at that point. 'At The Guardian and The Observer, where I was deputy editor and then editor, we went on from the Atex text system to EdPage layout system - but that process certainly took a lot longer in London than it has taken at the South China Morning Post. 'One of the things I walked into here was the application of the EdPage system to the Sunday paper. When the daily and the Sunday staffs were merged in May, we pushed that ahead even faster than would otherwise have been the case. 'Then there was the other editorial-production technological challenge of Tai Po coming on stream. Obviously, that took some ironing out on the night and there were words exchanged down the telephone lines between the two centres. 'But, apart from a couple of days when we hit problems beyond our control, it all went remarkably smoothly which is a tribute to everybody concerned.' Mr Fenby said one major reason why what could have been an extremely disruptive exercise worked so well was that 'the people in editorial and production were good at their jobs and knew each other well. 'When The Independent was set up 10 years ago, it used remote contract printing and that was pretty hairy because the sites were so far away - sometimes hundreds of miles apart - and you didn't know anyone there. 'Now, while Tai Po is not Quarry Bay, it's not the other side of a county either. 'Another thing that helped is our relatively late deadlines. In Britain, I was used to having the paper off the stone by nine o'clock. Here, we work to a later rhythm.' Mr Fenby acknowledges that the speed of the transition to EdPage production at the Post was something of a gamble. 'Since it has worked, it has been a great advantage. If it had turned out to be too fast, then it would have been a problem night by night. It was a gamble to take, but I think you always have to push things ahead. 'What strikes me here is an ability to get things done quickly - if it is possible, technically, to do it. 'People get on with the job and, once you have something started here, you tend to get through it much more quickly than would be the case in Britain. 'What is important here is that you know people. You see them all the time and talk to them and it makes it much easier to get things done. 'For instance, I might mention something at a management meeting on a Wednesday morning, and somebody else - whoever is involved - might agree, and then you find that by the next day, the process is underway, rather than everybody going away and discussing it again in an editorial-management committee and then in another committee and then seeing what so-and-so thinks and generally getting bogged down, as might tend to be the case in Britain.' In part, it is the atmosphere he has found in Hong Kong that has swept aside any doubts Mr Fenby may have had when accepting a position that would take him half-way around the world.