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|Founded||6 November 1903 (39975 issues)|
The South China Morning Post (aka 'SCMP' or 'the Post'), together with its Sunday edition, the Sunday Morning Post, is the first English-language Hong Kong newspaper, published by the SCMP Group with a circulation of 104,000.
Reginald Chua, deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal and former editor of The Wall Street Journal's Asia edition, was appointed editor-in-chief on 2 July 2009, replacing CK Lau. Chua was joined by David Lague, formerly of the International Herald Tribune and The Wall Street Journal, as managing editor. Chua has since stepped down, replaced by former Deputy Editor Cliff Buddle.
South China Morning Post Ltd was founded by Tse Tsan-tai and Alfred Cunningham in 1903. The first edition of the paper was published on 6 November 1903.
From its founding, during the Qing dynasty (Ching dynasty) until 1913, one year after the establishment of the Republic of China, it was known, in Chinese, as 《南清早報》 (lit. South Ching Morning Post). In 1913, its Chinese name was changed to 《南華早報》 (lit. South China Morning Post), and has remained as such since then.
The Chinese name of Sunday Morning Post is 《星期日南華早報》 (lit. Sunday South China Morning Post).
Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok's Kerry Media bought the controlling interest from News Corp in October 1993. His son, Kuok Khoon Ean, took over as chairman at the end of 1997. Kuok Khoon Ean's sister, Kuok Hui Kwong, was named chief executive officer on 1 Jan 2009.
The paper has a circulation, which has remained relatively constant at 104,000 copies since 2000. The average audited circulation for the first half of 2007 stood at 106,054, while its Sunday edition, the Sunday Morning Post, has a readership of 80,865. Its readership outside Hong Kong remains at some 6,825 copies for the same period, again, relatively unchanged. It also had the enviable position as the most profitable newspaper in the world on a per reader basis, profit declined since peaking in 1997 at HK$805 million, yet its growth potential is viewed as being largely dependent on its ability to penetrate the wider Chinese market.
The Group reported net profit of HK$338 million for the year 2006 (2005 = HK$246m), the operating profit of HK$419m (2005 = HK$306m) was attributable mainly to the newspaper operation.
The selling price of the paper is HK$8 each from Monday to Saturday, and HK$10 for the Sunday Morning Post. A discounted student subscription is also available. It was increased 14.5% (from HK$7) and 25% (from HK$8) respectively in August 2011.
The printed version of the Post is in a broadsheet format, in sections: Main, City, Sport, Business, Classifieds, Property (Wednesday), Racing (Wednesday), Technology (Tuesday), Education (Saturday), Style magazine (first Friday of every month); the Sunday edition contains Main, a Review section, a Post Magazine, Racing, "At Your Service", a services directory, and "Young Post", targeted at younger readers.
Scmp.com is a subscription-only service, which also allows the retrieval of archive articles dating back from 1993. It was launched online in December 1996. On 30 May 2007, scmp.com relaunched with a new look, features, and multimedia content. Headlines and the introduction to stories are now free to view, while the full articles are available to subscribers. Archive photos and articles are available for purchase.
On 16 July 2007, scmp.com launched its first-ever viral video marketing campaign targeting a global audience and highlighting the new multimedia features of the website.
The Kuok family is known to be pro-Beijing, and questions have been raised over the paper's editorial independence. There have been concerns, denied by Kuok, over the forced departures, in rapid succession, of several staff and contributors who were considered critical of China or its supporters in Hong Kong. These included, in the mid-1990s, their popular cartoonist Larry Feign, humour columnist Nury Vittachi, and numerous China-desk staff, namely 2000–01 editorial pages editor Danny Gittings, Beijing correspondent Jasper Becker, and China pages editor Willy Lam, who departed after his reporting had been publicly criticised by Robert Kuok.
Cartoonist Feign was abruptly dismissed not long after Kuok's purchase of the newspaper, after running several cartoons about the culling of human body parts from Chinese prisoners. His firing was defended as "cost cutting", but was widely viewed as political self-censorship during the jittery final years before Hong Kong's handover to the PRC.
Editorial page editor Gittings complained that in January 2001 he was told to take a "realistic" view of editorial independence and ordered not to run extracts of the Tiananmen Papers but was allowed to only after protesting "strenuously". The editor, however, believed that there had already been sufficient coverage.
At the launch of a joint report published by the Hong Kong Journalists' Association and Article 19 in July 2001, the chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists' Association said: "More and more newspapers self-censor themselves because they are controlled by either a businessman with close ties to Beijing, or part of a large enterprise, which has financial interests over the border."
Mark Clifford, former editor-in-chief of The Standard from 2004–06, was hired as editor-in-chief of 'The Post' in February 2006. He presided over the controversial dismissal several journalists over an internal prank, and himself resigned with effect 1 April 2007.
As of 26 August 2010, SCMP Group posted a profit of $52.3 million in the first half of 2010.
Wang Xiangwei, the newly appointed editor-in-Chief of the South China Morning Post was criticised for his decision to reduce paper's coverage of the death of Li Wangyang on 7 June 2012. Wang reportedly reversed the decision to run a full story, and instead published a two-paragraph report inside the paper; other news media reported it prominently. A senior staff member who sought to understand the decision circulated the resulting email exchanges, that indicate he received a stern rebuff from Wang. Self-censorship concerns were raised in the Chinese-language press of the territory because Wang is Chinese-born, and is a member of the Jilin Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference; the paper has since stepped up coverage of the death and aftermath as major news stories. Wang made a statement on 21 June, in which he said he understood the "huge responsibility to deliver news... [and]... the journalistic heritage we have inherited". and said that his decision not to pursue extensive coverage as the story broke was pending "more facts and details surrounding the circumstances of this case".
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