Newspaper slashes price in relaunch

The Sing Tao Daily News is to cut its price today from $5 to $2, the first reduction in its 61-year history.

The price cut coincides with a relaunch and redesign for the newspaper, formerly owned by Sally Aw Sian.

Patrick Cheung Din-youn, Sing Tao Holdings chairman, said yesterday: 'It may stay at this price for as little as three days or as long as three years, depending on the situation. The aim is to attract readers to try out our paper.' Mr Cheung is also chief executive of fund manager Lazard Asia, which took over Sing Tao in April after Miss Aw ceded control when faced with personal bankruptcy.

Although Sing Tao reported an attributable loss of $55.42 million for the year to March 31, the company maintained it had the funds to support the promotion.

Lo Wing-hung, chief editor of Sing Tao Daily News, which claims a circulation of about 70,000, said his paper was fighting for a niche market among young, educated middle-class readers.

However, the paper's direct rivals have said they will maintain their cover prices. Up to now, price wars have only been fought among the mass-market papers.

Keith Kam Moon-ting, general manager of the Ming Pao Daily News, said: 'We will not reduce our price. According to our experience of the past few years, price does not determine whether readers choose our paper. We have our style, and loyal readers.' Eric Chan Cho-biu, chief editor of the Hong Kong Economic Times, said: 'We are very concerned about the move. But we are not in head-on competition since we are in different market segments. They are a general newspaper and we are a financial newspaper.'