Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hong Kong Economic Journal

The Hong Kong Economic Journal is a Chinese language daily newspaper published in Hong Kong by the Shun Po Co., Ltd. Available in both Hong Kong and Macau, the newspaper mainly focuses on economic news and other related issues. The newsjournal is also available to some air passengers - those travelling to the United States, Canada, and Europe. It is authorised by the Hong Kong government to publish announcements related to some law issues.

The history, the changes, and the founder

The ''Hong Kong Economic Journal'' was founded by Lam Shan-muk , commonly known by his pen name 林行止 , who first worked as a data collector for during the 1960s and later as an assistant editor for the evening version of Ming Pao -- and Law Chi-Ping -- who withdrew his shares later. Together they saw the possibility of developing an economic journal for the Hong Kong public in the early 70s (though some say that it was Lok Yau-Mui (, his wife, and not Law Chi-Ping who was the true co-founder) and the newspaper was first published on 3 July, 1973.

Unfortunately, shortly after the publication of newspaper, the Hong Kong stock market experienced the first historical huge fall as a result of the then global oil crisis. Nonetheless, the Hong Kong economy revived in 1976 and the newspaper eventually became one of the most influential newspapers in the Chinese media world.

Today the ''Journal'' is run by its current director Cho Chi-ming , who writes a daily editorial column called "Investor's Diary 投資者日記", and Joy Shan Lam-Kung , daughter of Mr. Lam.

The online version of the "Hong Kong Economic Journal" was launched in 2008.

The sections

The ''Journal'''s pages are categorized into "News", "Investment", "Technology", "Editorials" and "Supplement". These sections are further divided into the following subsections --

The "News" part contains:
* finance and economics
* changes in stock market
* economics and business
* property markets
* political issues
* China news and international news

The 'Investment' part contains:
* company interviews
* reports on stock market price
* stock market forecast and analysis
* international investment
* supplementary information on the events launched by businesses

The 'Technology' part includes:
* application of IT in the business areas
* problems faced by companies in using IT and possible solutions provided
* media and multi-media

The "Supplementary" part consists of:
* economics and business management
* columns and cultures

The " Editorial" part contains:
* China and international discussion parts
* the founder's special column

Professionals involved in economics also publish some of their articles in the Journal to express their views on the economy and related current events.

The stance, style and characteristics

The reports and commentaries of the newspaper are always regarded as , objective, fair and well-balanced among the Hong Kong newspapers, since the editors are quite outspoken and bold to criticize the and the Chinese central government in the 'Editorial' section. The editors usually hold skeptical views on government interventions and policies, reflecting their affirmation towards the view of economics. According to a survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2001, the ''Hong Kong Economic Journal'' as well as Ming Pao were regarded as the newspapers with the highest degree of credibility in Hong Kong.

As ''The HK Economic Journal ''mainly focuses on reporting government policies and financial affairs, soft news plays a minor role in it. The style it adopts is very different from other local newspapers in Hong Kong, such as Apple Daily, Oriental Daily News, etc., which stress their 'Entertainment' parts and sensationalize or exaggerate the harder news to promote sales. Unlike these tabloid-like newspapers, the ''HKEJ'' reports its news mainly by words, with few graphics. Detailed graphs showing the changes in the stock market are displayed precisely. Advertisements or story-like news are not found in the front cover. Due to all these elements, the ''Journal'' simply doesn't sell as well as those 'popular' local newspapers.

One of the characteristics of the newspaper is that it mentions different business information to readers. This section can be found in the "Investment" part in which it discusses the changes in the market, no matter they are major or minor issues. For instance, it mentions some new services from the DHL Express as well as the musical contest launched by McDonald's. The newspaper provides their readers with much substantial information that they need.

The other characteristic of the paper is that it contains detailed information on the funding market, including interpretation on the fund market and changes in the fund market. These columns are relatively rare in other newspaper in Hong Kong.

The role of the HKEJ in Hong Kong and China

The ''HKEJ'' plays an important role in relating HKSAR and the People's Republic of China as many senior officials of PRC seem to regard the ''Journal'' as a true reflection of Hong Kong situation. For example, during July 2003 , Mr. Cho aligned himself with the democratic camp and announced that if the government implemented the Article, he would stop the publication of the ''Journal''. The reasons he provided were that it would be dangerous for the journalists to disclose the truth and express their own thoughts if Article 23 were to be implementated. He also opposed one of the terms in the Article, which states that the police can go into anyone's house to conduct a search or freeze anyone's assets without a court-issued warrant. The next day, the government made a concession by modifying some of the terms according to Mr. Cho's suggestions.

Additional information of the two special columns

There are 2 columns in ''HKEJ'' which deserve special attention: Mr. Lam's "Political and Economical Review" and Mr. Cho's "Investor's Diary" .

Since 1973, Mr. Lam has been writing the Journal's Editorial , but even before that, his insightful views on the economy were already recognized by Mr. Louis Cha during Mr. Lam time with Ming Pao. Mr. Lam's reviews are generally accepted as being objective, well-supported by facts and full of in-depth observations. One good example is during the 1989 4 June Tiananmen Square Massacre. Regardless of the anger expressed and protests taking place in every part of Hong Kong, Mr. Lam still gave practical and rational opinions about this issue. He had suggested ways to manage and organize the funds donated by the Hong Kong citizens to the Beijing students, as the contact between the two parties was blocked by the government of the People's Republic of China at that time. This conscientious action has surely contributed to the prosperity of the HKEJ.

After Mr. Lam stopped writing the editorial and started a column for himself in 1997, the style of his writing has then become more various. Apart from giving analyses on hard news, he also writes articles about some interesting economics theories. According to Mr. Lam, his goal is to educate the public about economics issues.

The other column of note, Mr. Cho's "Investor's Diary", is a highly respected analysis of the financial market. The column covers areas such as the worldwide stock market, oil prices, different financial tools and suggestions on best-buy equities. The column differs from the typical HKEJ style in that Mr. Cho seems to be fond of writing in Cantonese slang, probably because he thinks that it is more comfortable for the public to read. In addition, Mr. Cho likes making up nicknames for the government officials, one example of which is the acronym "IQT" for the Financial Secretary Mr. Henry Tang.

Related issues of the newspaper

A monthly magazine by the name of 'Hong Kong Economic Journal Monthly' is associated with the newspaper. First published in March 1977, this magazine also belongs to Shun Po Co., Ltd. Its contents are mainly about Hong Kong, mainland China, and international economics and finance. Different from the newspaper, the magazine is sold around the world, including Hong Kong, mainland China, Macau, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe, Australia, and the United States. A total of 323 issues have been published as of February 2004. The current chief editor of the magazine is Mr. Man Cheuk Fei.

Recent Development about the Selling of the Newspaper by the Lam's family

It was reported that, as early as 10 January, 2006, the Lam's family was in negotiation with Richard Li and another local mass-media company for the sale of the newspaper. On August 9, 2006 Li bought a 50% stake in the newspaper.

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