The Standard (Hong Kong)

The Standard
Type Daily free newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) Sing Tao News Corporation
Language English

10/F, Sing Tao News Corporation Building
3 Tung Wong Road, Shau Kei Wan

Hong Kong
Circulation 222,413[1]

The Standard (Chinese: 英文虎報; Jyutping: jing1 man4 fu2 bou3; pinyin: Yīngwén Hǔbào) is an English free newspaper in Hong Kong with a daily circulation of 231,018. It was formerly called the Hong Kong Standard and changed to HKiMail during the Internet boom, but reverted to The Standard in 2001.

The South China Morning Post is its main local competitor.


The Standard is printed in tabloid-format rather than in broadsheet. It is published daily from Monday to Friday.


The Standard is published by Sing Tao Newspaper Limited, also the publisher of Sing Tao Daily and Headline Daily. This enterprise is owned by Sing Tao News Corporation Limited, a firm owning other businesses including media publications, human capital management and Broadband service. The Global China Group Holdings acquired 51% of Sing Tao Holdings Ltd in January 2001 and changed its name in 2005. The Chairman of Sing Tao News Corporation Limited is Charles Ho Tsu Kwok (何柱國).


The Standard was originally named the Hong Kong Tiger Standard. The newspaper was founded by Tycoon Aw Boon Haw after the end of the Chinese Civil War. On the backs of financially successful Sing Tao Daily and Tiger Balm, he attacked the English-language newspaper market by launching the paper on 1 March 1949 to give a Chinese voice to the world, to advance the interests of Chinese in all their endeavours and defend them against all kinds inequalities, challenging the pro-colonial establishment press.[2] It started life as a broadsheet, largely edited and run by Chinese, but without the exclusion of other nationals.[2] Politically, it shared the Sing Tao and Aw's allegiance to the Kuomintang.[2]

These early editors were all thoroughly US educated and trained, the first being L. Z. Yuan (father-in-law of Golden Harvest founder, Raymond Chow). There followed C. S. Kwei, a leading Chinese lawyer and bilingual intellectual-author, and Kyatang Woo, an alumnus of University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.[2] In 1985, Robert Chow, who later became a staunch and vocal pro-establishment advocate of highly-restrictive Soviet-style democratic elections for Hong Kong's Chief Executive, became the editor-in-chief of The Standard, and worked there until the 1990s.[3]

During the 1990s, when Sally Aw (Aw Sian, adopted daughter of Aw Boon Haw) chaired Sing Tao News Corporation Limited, The Standard was the only English newspaper in Hong Kong that was allowed to be circulated in China.

In 1994, a third English-language newspaper, the Eastern Express, appeared. Its bold headlines and large photographs provoked a radical redesign at the Standard, which also suffered the loss of a great many reporters, sub-editors and advertising to the Eastern Express, tempted by its boasts of generous pay. The new paper quickly pushed the Standard into third place for full-price sales. The Standard adopted a distinctive orange and black masthead, and an advertising campaign that used a carrot logo and the maxim "clearer vision". Meanwhile, an emergency recruitment drive brought in new staff from the UK and Tasmania, mostly from regional newspapers and on fixed contracts. Its Sunday supplement, Hong Kong Life, began free distribution in bars and clubs.

On 27 May 2000, facing challenges from its biggest competitor the South China Morning Post, the Hong Kong Standard was renamed Hong Kong iMail (香港郵報) and reduced to tabloid-size to attract more young Chinese readers, and was refocused on business issues. On 30 May 2002, following the burst of the Internet Bubble, the paper reverted to being The Standard.

The current Editor-in-Chief is Ivan Tong, who replaced Mark Clifford.

From 10 September 2007, The Standard, then sold at HK$6, became a free newspaper. It is now Hong Kong's first and only free English newspaper.

Circulation fraud

In August 1996, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Hong Kong found that 14,000 copies of the paper had been discarded at Wan Chai Pier and therefore started an investigation. The ICAC discovered that from 1994 to 1997, the circulation figures of the Hong Kong Sunday Standard and the Hong Kong Standard had been routinely and substantially exaggerated, in order to attract advertisers and to raise the revenue of the newspapers. Circulation figures had always been somewhat obscure, due to the Sing Tao group's longstanding agreements with hotels and clubs where the newspaper was distributed free.

As a result, the ICAC arrested three staff members of the Hong Kong Standard and charged Aw Sian as co-conspirator. This case was examined and deliberated from 23 November 1998 to 20 January 1999. Finally, the three staff members were found guilty and sentenced to 4 to 6 months in jail. Aw Sian was not prosecuted. The decision generated a large controversy among the public and raised the question of legal discrimination and injustice environment in arbitration.[4]

Nevertheless, the Secretary of Justice, Elsie Leung justified her decision not to prosecute Aw Sian on the basis of insufficient evidence and public interest.[5]


  1. "About Us". Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Castro, Alan (26 March 1999). "Tiger roars for HK". The Standard. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  3. Kang-chung, Ng (28 July 2014). "Robert Chow Yung: There is another voice in Hong Kong". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  4. "Newspaper chief faces fresh probe over fraud". The Standard. 29 January 1999. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  5. de Silva, Neville (5 February 1999). "Why I didn't prosecute Sally Aw". The Standard. Retrieved 21 March 2007.


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