|Founded||20 June 1995|
|Headquarters||8 Chun Ying Street|
T.K.O Industrial Estate West, Tseung Kwan O
An Apple Daily newsvan in Hong Kong.
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. The survey shows it was the third least trusted major source of news in the same year. However, according to a survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Apple Daily was the third most trusted paid newspaper in 2019.
The reporting and editorials of Apple Daily have been described as favouring the Hong Kong pan-democracy camp:205–206 and critical of the Chinese government. 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. 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."
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. 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.
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.: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.: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.: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.: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.: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.: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.:490
The newspaper was modelled after USA Today, with printing in full colour and concise writing. It also extensively used written Cantonese, when most Hong Kong newspapers used written vernacular Chinese, and a focus on reporting crime, celebrity news, eroticism, gambling, and drug use. It carried at least three pages of entertainment news at the beginning but this was increased by eight pages by 2000.:64
In March 2015, Chan Pui-man became the first female chief editor of the journal, replacing Ip Yut-kin. 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. In May 2020, Apple Daily launched the English edition of its digital paper on its mobile app.
Apple Daily is described to have introduced tabloid journalism to the Hong Kong market. 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. This type of journalism has also been replicated by other newspapers in Hong Kong.
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. 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. In 2000, an Apple Daily reporter was sentenced to 10 months in jail for bribing police officers for information on criminal cases.
Journalism scholar Paul Lee said the establishment of Apple Daily has changed the Hong Kong newspaper ecosystem by transforming broadsheet newspapers into tabloids. 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). Apple Daily did not join the self-regulation panel of the Newspaper Society of Hong Kong.
Apple Daily is also known for its coverage of breaking news and current affairs in Hong Kong and China. 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.
Apple Daily favours the Hong Kong pan-democracy camp.:205–206 Its criticism of the Hong Kong government has been described as a marketing strategy. The newspaper is also said to have sensationalised politics to produce public dissent.: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. Apple Daily launched a social media campaign in support of student protesters in the 2014 Hong Kong protests:58 and its social media presence was considered a mainstream pro-activist community.
Apple Daily is also described as critical of China.: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.
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, and the banks said they pulled advertising for commercial reasons.
Apple Daily also said Chinese-sponsored hackers have attacked it almost every week. 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.
- Ip Yut Kin (1996–2002)
- Cheung Kim-hung (2013–2015)
- Chan Pui-man (2015–2017)
- Ryan Law Wai-kwong (2017–)
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The Apple Daily, which gives readers a heavy diet of sex and violence, has been attacked for bringing tabloid journalism into Hong Kong homes
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