In January 1994, the Hong Kong Standard recorded a daily circulation of 38,000. Nine months later it announced a 50 per cent jump to 57,000. At the time, the chairman of Sing Tao Holdings, Sally Aw Sian, said the newspaper had recorded 'exceptional growth'. She also predicted increasing sales as the Standard became the first English language paper to print in China. By the end of last year, the paper said its sales had increased further, to 65,000 copies a day. But ICAC investigators say they have uncovered deliberate excess printing of the paper since at least early 1994, with the quantity recently reaching up to 23,000 copies a day. The Standard was launched in 1949 - the year of the Communist victory over the Kuomintang in China. In its first edition, Ms Aw's father and the paper's founder, Aw Boon Haw, pledged that it would endeavour to explain China to foreigners. His other aims were to 'promote the welfare of the people' and 'encourage closer relationships between East and West'. Ms Aw took over in 1954 when her father died. According to an anniversary edition printed this year, the paper took a strong anti-colonial stance which made it a target for visits by the Special Branch. In the mid-1970s, Government advertising was cut off. The Standard was the first newspaper in Hong Kong with full colour. It was redesigned in January 1994 with a new masthead and sections. In September of that year, it became the first foreign-language paper to receive permission to print in China. After 10 months of negotiations, the China Daily group started printing the Standard in Beijing, allowing it to hit the streets 12 hours ahead of other foreign newspapers. But the three-year contract was terminated just four months later. The Standard started publishing on the Internet in October 1995. It says it receives more than 100,000 file hits a day on its World Wide Web Tigernet site, with 169,759 hits on the day Deng Xiaoping died. The paper again relaunched itself in July last year, with a new layout and distinctive orange masthead.