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Singapore Press Holdings to launch free Chinese newspaper

The new morning daily will be light, eye-pleasing and easy to read.

Singapore, 8 March 2006 – Leading media group, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will launch Singapore’s first free Chinese morning newspaper on June 1st this year, following the issuance of a permit by the Media Development Authority.

Contemporary, informative and entertaining, the reader-friendly newspaper will, to begin with, be available daily from Tuesday to Saturday and distributed to MRT stations, offices, tertiary institutions and selected households and shopping centres. The name of the free newspaper will be unveiled when it is officially launched.

Its Editors are promising a product filled with news nuggets, commentaries, entertainment and lifestyle features, coupled with a high degree of reader participation via news alerts, story and picture contributions as well as opinion pieces.

SPH Chairman Dr Tony Tan said the newspaper will complement the company’s stable of highly regarded Chinese newspapers.

"Zaobao is a Chinese newspaper of considerable reputation and international recognition whilst SPH’s two evening newspapers, Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News, cater to the needs of a sizeable readership with interests in lifestyle and human-interest stories," he said.

"However, we recognise that the readers’ tastes and needs evolve with changing lifestyle, trends and command of the language. Thus, to cater to our wide spectrum of readers, SPH aims to provide a full suite of Chinese newspaper products across different time-belts, with each offering a fulfilling reading experience and unique perspective on events happening around them, using language ideally suited for the audience, " Dr Tan added.

He noted that the free Chinese newspaper would fill the gap for a quick and light read in the morning. Not surprisingly, it will be written in contemporary, easy-to-read Chinese which even younger readers with a CL2 background will find interesting and absorbing.

SPH CEO Alan Chan said the Group is ever conscious of the need to ensure that its readers’ expectations are met, and will continually improve its newspapers - including Lianhe Zaobao - to meet these expectations.

"We will continuously develop Zaobao in ways that our readers want us to, but without compromising its in-depth and analytical coverage."

Mr Chan added that the free Chinese newspaper is also in line with the Group’s continuing efforts to nurture local journalistic talent.

"To prepare for this newspaper, we will not just be hiring fresh talent, we will also be offering more places in the SPH Chinese Journalism Scholarship to meet our long term needs."

The Executive Vice-President of the Chinese Newspapers Division, Robin Hu, said the free Chinese newspaper will be relaxed, informative and entertaining in nature and is designed to appeal to new readers.

"Some of our newer readers, especially the young adults, with their busy lifestyle and work commitments, may not have the time to read extensively," said Mr Hu.

"This new product is aimed at this group as well as English speaking families desiring a succinct Chinese paper to stay engaged with the language. Over time, we hope a portion of its readers will move up the ladder to Zaobao, which offers an insightful and yet different perspective on domestic affairs and regional geo-politics, where China’s emergence is re-defining the way people and businesses think and act."

Mr Hu said the new product will complement its sister publications, namely Zaobao, Wanbao and Shin Min with readers’ involvement central to the new product’s personality.

Led by Editor Goh Sin Teck and Associate Editor Chua Chim Kang, the new morning Chinese newspaper will have a team of journalists who are in their twenties and thirties.

Mr Goh, 42, is currently Executive Editor of Shin Min Daily News. He has had a varied career in the SPH Chinese Newspapers Division, having worked in all three newspapers as well as heading Zaobao Online during its start-up days. Aged 40, Mr Chua is currently head of the Zaobao local news desk and was recently voted as Singapore’s only award recipient at The Forum of Young Global Leaders 2006.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Co. Regn. No: 198402868E

For more information, please contact :

Mr Arnold Gay
Head
Corporate Relations
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel: 6319 1216
Fax: 6319 8150
E-mail: arnold@sph.com.sg

Ms Juliana Chong
Manager
Corporate Relations
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel: 6319 1895
Fax: 6319 8150
E-mail: julianac@sph.com.sg

About SPH
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading media company in Singapore, in the print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. It publishes 13 newspapers in the four official languages and more than 80 magazine titles. Everyday, 2.8 million individuals, or 88 per cent of the people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications. Its Internet Business Unit manages the online editions of SPH’s major newspapers, which enjoy over 100 million pageviews from 8 million unique visitors every month.

SPH also owns a 20% stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40% stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes free sheet Today. SPH has a 70% stake in UnionWorks which operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, and owns an 80% stake in SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore’s largest LED network media company.

For more information about SPH, please log on to www.sph.com.sg