Financial problems have beset some of the newspapers in Hong Kong, and Sing Pao, the oldest Chinese-language newspaper in the city will not have a print edition starting today, Friday. The newspaper started publication in 1939 and since the 1960s had been the city paper with the highest circulation.
The problem stemmed from the financial problems that are plaguing its parent company, Sing Pao Media Enterprises Limited. The newspaper said they would stop publication because the bank account of Sing Pao had been frozen by the provisional liquidators of the parent company, Tiffany Wong Wing-sze and Edward Middleton of the KPMG.
Failure to pay
The liquidation application was filed by the land owners after the media corporation failed to pay the rent for the United Overseas Plaza office of Sing Pao located in Kwun Tong. However, the newspaper issued a statement Thursday that the provisional liquidators are for the Sing Pao Media Enterprises Limited and should not affect the operations of Sing Pao and the other company publications.
Sing Pao will not come out with a printed edition until the approval of the High Court of a financing plan is offered the newspaper so that funds could be freed up from its parent company. It will still continue with its online version of the newspaper, though.
According to Tiffany Wong Wing-sze however, they did not make a request for the account of Sing Pao newspaper to be frozen and claims that there had been a misunderstanding.
The editorial department of Sing Pao released a statement expressing their vehement disapproval of the frozen account in the afternoon of Thursday. The editorial statement also said that the newspaper, operating under an investor, is still strong and the staff are still working dedicatedly. Meanwhile, the Labor Department said it is yet to receive a request from the workers of Sing Pao for assistance. They had sent an invitation to them saying that they could approach the department for any assistance or inquiries.
The first announcement, made by Sing Pao Media on Thursday said that together with its operating subsidiaries, which include the newspaper Sing Pao, will still continue to operate, despite the provisional liquidators’ appointment on Monday by the High Court. The next announcement, which was made the following day said that Sing Pao will temporarily cease its printed edition.
Gu Zheoheng, the board chairman of Sing Pao said Thursday night that is was regrettable that the newspaper will not have a printed edition on Friday, but reiterated that there was some miscommunication involved. He announced that he and the provisional liquidators have reached an agreement and about HK$5 million would be injected into the company so that it could continue with their daily operation. He added that he would invest HK$100 million into the company annually. On the other hand, Ms. Wong said the plan would be submitted by Gu today, Friday, which the court could receive in 48 hours.