Apple Daily

Apple Daily is a Hong Kong tabloid-style[1][2] newspaper founded in 1995 by Jimmy Lai. Along with entertainment magazine Next Magazine, Apple Daily is part of Next Digital.

Apple Daily
Apple Daily Title.svg
Apple daily front page.jpg
Front page on 9 October 2010
(English: "Monument of human rights: Liu Xiaobo awarded Nobel Peace Prize")
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Next Digital
Founded20 June 1995; 25 years ago (1995-06-20)
Political alignmentPro-democracy
Headquarters8 Chun Ying Street
T.K.O Industrial Estate West, Tseung Kwan O
Hong Kong
Apple Daily
Hong Kong Apple Daily newsvan 20070918.jpg
An Apple Daily newsvan in Hong Kong.
Traditional Chinese蘋果日報
Simplified Chinese苹果日报

In a Reuters Institute poll conducted in January 2019, the Apple Daily newspaper and its news website were the second most used in Hong Kong.[3] The survey shows it was the third least trusted major source of news in the same year.[3] However, according to a survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Apple Daily was the third most trusted paid newspaper in 2019.[4]

The reporting and editorials of Apple Daily have been described as favouring the Hong Kong pan-democracy camp[5]:205–206 and critical of the Chinese government.[6] As a result of its editorial position, it was subject to advertising boycotts and political pressure.

On 10 August 2020, Jimmy Lai, the founder of Next Digital, was arrested by Hong Kong Police for alleged collusion with foreign powers according to executive, Mark Simon on Twitter.[7] The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that "The arrest of media tycoon Jimmy Lai bears out the worst fears that Hong Kong’s National Security Law would be used to suppress critical pro-democracy opinion and restrict press freedom," said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. "Jimmy Lai should be released at once and any charges dropped."[8]

A sister publication of the same name is published in Taiwan under a joint venture between Next Media and other Taiwanese companies.


Apple Daily was founded on 20 June 1995 by garment businessman Jimmy Lai. After the success of Next Magazine, another publication owned by Lai, he launched Apple Daily with an initial capital of HK$700 million.[9] Lai named Apple Daily after the forbidden fruit, which he said if Adam and Eve did not eat, there would be no evil and news.[10]

The newspaper launched against a poor economy and a competitive Chinese-language newspaper market. Political uncertainties from Lai's criticisms of the Chinese government also made media analysts pessimistic about the future of Apple Daily.[11]:487–488 Before Apple Daily was first published, it launched a television advertisements that portrayed Lai with an apple on his head being a shooting target for its competitors.[11]:488 In the first month of publication, the newspaper gave out coupons to reduce the price in effect to $2, despite the Newspaper Society of Hong Kong standardising the retail price of Hong Kong newspapers to $5 per issue. The price was returned to $5 after a month, but the newspaper began giving out T-shirts and coloured posters.[11]:488 The free publicity allowed Apple Daily to sell 200,000 copies on its first day and become the newspaper with the second highest circulation in Hong Kong.[11]:488

A price war between popular newspapers began in response to Apple Daily's competition within months of its launch. Oriental Daily announced it would reduce its price to $2 from $5 in December 1995, and other newspapers, such as Sing Pao and Tin Tin Daily followed suit.[11]:490 Apple Daily reduced its retail price to $4 a day after Oriental Daily's announcement and had a 10 per cent drop in its circulation.[11]:490 The price war caused multiple newspapers to collapse, including TV Daily, which ceased operations on the first day of the price war, Hong Kong United Daily, China Times Magazine and English newspaper Eastern Express, a sister newspaper of Oriental Daily.[11]:490

The newspaper was modelled after USA Today, with printing in full colour and concise writing.[9] It also extensively used written Cantonese,[12] when most Hong Kong newspapers used written vernacular Chinese,[13] and a focus on reporting crime, celebrity news, eroticism, gambling, and drug use.[14] It carried at least three pages of entertainment news at the beginning but this was increased by eight pages by 2000.[15]:64

In March 2015, Chan Pui-man became the first female chief editor of the journal, replacing Ip Yut-kin.[16] In 2019, Apple Daily was an award winner of the Hong Kong Human Rights Press Awards for their reporting on Liu Xia, the wife of Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo.[17] In May 2020, Apple Daily launched the English edition of its digital paper on its mobile app.[18]


Apple Daily is described to have introduced tabloid journalism to the Hong Kong market.[19] The focus on large colourful graphics and more flamboyant stories, such as celebrity scandals, traffic accidents and deaths, quickly made Apple Daily Hong Kong's second most popular newspaper.[20] This type of journalism has also been replicated by other newspapers in Hong Kong.[20]

Apple Daily attracted public criticism in 1998 for a report about a woman who jumped off a building after pushing her children out the window. The woman's husband was widely reported to have little remorse for the deaths of his wife and children. Apple Daily published a photo of the man with two prostitutes soon after the deaths. It was then revealed that the newspaper had paid the man to pose for the photograph, for which Apple Daily issued an apology after public outcry.[20] In the same year, Apple Daily ran a front-page article claiming that lawyer Jessie Chu Siu Kuk-yuen absconded more than HK$2 million of clients' money her law firm. Apple Daily was ordered by a court to pay Chu more than HK$3.6 million in damages for defamation.[21] In 2000, an Apple Daily reporter was sentenced to 10 months in jail for bribing police officers for information on criminal cases.[22][23]

Journalism scholar Paul Lee said the establishment of Apple Daily has changed the Hong Kong newspaper ecosystem by transforming broadsheet newspapers into tabloids.[24] Lee said newspapers with a high circulation, such as Apple Daily, The Sun and Oriental Daily, are known for their tabloid journalism as well as making mainstream reporting (see middle-market newspaper).[24] Apple Daily did not join the self-regulation panel of the Newspaper Society of Hong Kong.[24]

Apple Daily is also known for its coverage of breaking news and current affairs in Hong Kong[25] and China.[1] The newspaper had exclusive reports on political scandals, including a former member of the Legislative Council[who?] not reporting conflict of interest in 2000, a former Financial Secretary Antony Leung for avoiding tax when purchasing a car.

Editorial positionEdit

Apple Daily favours the Hong Kong pan-democracy camp.[5]:205–206 Its criticism of the Hong Kong government has been described as a marketing strategy.[26] The newspaper is also said to have sensationalised politics to produce public dissent.[6]:168 In 2003, Apple Daily was critical of the Tung Chee-hwa administration and published news articles that encouraged readers to participate in pro-democracy demonstrations with its front-page headline.[27] Apple Daily launched a social media campaign in support of student protesters in the 2014 Hong Kong protests[28]:58 and its social media presence was considered a mainstream pro-activist community.[29]

Apple Daily is also described as critical of China.[6]:169 In 2004, it was the only newspaper in Hong Kong that expressed optimism when Chen Shui-bian was re-elected President of the Republic of China.[6]

The editorial position against the Hong Kong and Chinese governments has resulted in advertising boycotts. In 2003, several major property developers in Hong Kong ended their advertisements in the newspaper. According to Mark Simon, an executive of Next Digital, HSBC, Hang Seng and Standard Chartered stopped their advertising campaigns in the newspaper in 2013 due to pressure from the Chinese government's Liaison Office. The Liaison Office denied it contacted the banks,[30] and the banks said they pulled advertising for commercial reasons.[31][32]

Apple Daily also said Chinese-sponsored hackers have attacked it almost every week.[33] FireEye said in 2014 that denial-of-service attacks on Apple Daily were connected with professional cyberattacks, that may be coordinated by the Chinese government.[33]


  • Ip Yut Kin (1996–2002)
  • Cheung Kim-hung (2013–2015)
  • Chan Pui-man (2015–2017)
  • Ryan Law Wai-kwong (2017–)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Steinberger, Michael (1996). "An apple a day: Jimmy Lai's tough tabloid". Columbia Journalism Review. 34 (6) – via ProQuest.
  2. ^ Guo, Steve (2018). "A Report on Public Evaluations of Media Credibility in Hong Kong". In Huang, Yu; Song, Yunya (eds.). The Evolving Landscape of Media and Communication in Hong Kong. City University of Hong Kong Press. pp. 135–150.
  3. ^ a b Newman, Nic; Fletcher, Richard; Kalogeropoulos, Antonis; Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis (2019). Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019 (PDF) (Report). Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  4. ^ Tracking Research: Public Evaluation on Media Credibility Survey Results (PDF) (Report). Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b So, Clement Y.K. (1999). "Fairness of Press Coverage: Four Factors Compared". In Kuan, Hsin-chi; Lau, Siu-kai; Louie, Kin-sheun; Wong, Timothy Ka-ying (eds.). Power Transfer and Electoral Politics: The First Legislative Election in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Chinese University Press. pp. 185–214.
  6. ^ a b c d Fung, Anthony Y. H. (June 2007). "Political Economy of Hong Kong Media: Producing a Hegemonic Voice". Asian Journal of Communication. 17 (2): 159–171. doi:10.1080/01292980701306530. S2CID 153994013.
  7. ^ - Via Twitter - Revieved on 10/08/2020 Tweet states: "Jimmy Lai is being arrested for collusion with foreign powers at this time."
  8. ^ - Via Committee to Protect Journalists Retrieved 10/08/2020
  9. ^ a b Lee, Chin-chuan (2000). "The Paradox of Political Economy: Media Structure, Press Freedom, and Regime Change in Hong Kong". In Lee, Chin-chuan (ed.). Power, Money, and Media: Communication Patterns and Bureaucratic Control in Cultural China. Illinois, IL: Northwestern University Press. pp. 288–336.
  10. ^ 黎智英品味 挑戰台灣 (in Chinese). 21 February 2000. Archived from the original on 3 November 2004. Retrieved 20 December 2007.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g So, Clement Y. K. (1997). Nyaw, Mee-Kau; Li, Si-Ming (eds.). The Other Hong Kong Report 1996. The Chinese University Press. pp. 485–506.
  12. ^ Tam, Maria (1997). Hong Kong: The Anthropology of a Chinese Metropolis. University of Hawaii Press. p. 19.
  13. ^ Snow, Donald (2004). Cantonese as Written Language: The Growth of a Written Chinese Vernacular. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 166–168.
  14. ^ Lee, Chin-Chuan (1997). "Media Structure and Regime Change in Hong Kong". In Chan, Ming (ed.). The Challenge of Hong Kong's Reintegration with China. Hong Kong University Press. p. 131.
  15. ^ Leung, Wing-fai (2014). Multimedia Stardom in Hong Kong: Image, Performance and Identity. Routledge. ISBN 9781134625055.
  16. ^ "Meet Apple Daily's new female editor-in-chief EJINSIGHT -". EJINSIGHT.
  17. ^ "23rd Human Rights Press Awards (2019) Winners | Human Rights Press Awards". 16 May 2019. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  18. ^ "Apple Daily 蘋果動新聞 - Apps on Google Play". Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  19. ^ "Hong Kong Investigators Raid Apple Daily; Reporter Arrested". The Wall Street Journal. 2 December 1999. The Apple Daily, which gives readers a heavy diet of sex and violence, has been attacked for bringing tabloid journalism into Hong Kong homes
  20. ^ a b c Weisenhaus, Doreen (2005). "Newsgathering Practices: Hong Kong Journalists' Views and Use of Controversial Techniques". Global Media Journal. 4 (7). ISSN 1550-7521.
  21. ^ "$3.6m for lawyer defamed by paper". South China Morning Post. 21 December 2001. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  22. ^ "人民网--404页面".
  23. ^ "¤Ó ¶§ ??¡G SUN ®É ¨Æ".
  24. ^ a b c Lee, Paul Siu-nam (2015) [1st pub. 2003]. 一國兩制下的社會與媒介變遷 [Media Transformations and the Society Under One Country Two Systems]. In Lee, Paul Siu-nam (ed.). 香港傳媒新世紀 [New Perspectives on Hong Kong Media] (in Chinese) (2nd ed.). The Chinese University Press. pp. 4–7. ISBN 9789629966683 – via Google Book preview.
  25. ^ 黃天賜 (2013). 新聞與香港社會真相 (in Chinese) (增訂本 ed.). Hong Kong: Chung Hwa. pp. 71–77. ISBN 978-988-8181-99-5 – via Google Book preview.
  26. ^ Lee, Francis L.F.; Lin, Angel M.Y. (2006). "Newspaper editorial discourse and the politics of self-censorship in Hong Kong". Discourse & Society. 17 (3): 331–358. doi:10.1177/0957926506062371. hdl:10722/92430.
  27. ^ Chan, Joseph M.; Lee, Francis L. F. (June 2007). "Media and Large-scale Demonstrations: The Pro-democracy Movement in Post-handover Hong Kong". Asian Journal of Communication. 17 (2): 215–228. doi:10.1080/01292980701306639. S2CID 145449091.
  28. ^ Lin, Zhongxuan (2017). "Contextualized Transmedia Mobilization: Media Practices and Mobilizing Structures in the Umbrella Movement". International Journal of Communication. 11: 48–71.
  29. ^ Fu, King Wa; Chan, Chung Hong (2015). Networked Collective Action in the 2014 Hong Kong Occupy Movement: Analysing a Facebook sharing network (PDF). The 2nd International Conference on Public Policy. Milan.
  30. ^ Curran, Enda; Yung, Chester (16 June 2014). "Hong Kong Newspaper Says HSBC, Standard Chartered Pulled Ads". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  31. ^ "Tamed Hounds". The Economist. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  32. ^ Roantree, Anne Marie; Jucca, Lisa (31 October 2014). "Thousands denounce HSBC board member's likening of Hong Kong people to freed slaves". Reuters. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  33. ^ a b Bladwin, Clare; Pomfret, James; Wagstaff, Jeremy (30 November 2015). "On China's fringes, cyber spies raise their game". Reuters. Retrieved 2 December 2015.

External linksEdit