Apple Daily’s Taiwan edition will scrap the print edition of its newspaper and focus instead on its online news site.

In a statement on Friday, the Taiwan arm of the media outlet said it will retire its printed newspaper product next Tuesday as it was no longer commercially viable.

Apple Daily
Apple Daily’s Hong Kong edition. File Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

“For 18 years, Taiwan Apple Daily’s print edition has changed Taiwan’s media landscape with its creative content, but today we are the ones changed by the media landscape,” the statement read. “Due to a continuous deficit in our operations, we are reluctant to call the decision to end the Taiwan Apple Daily’s printed paper, and focus our resources on Apple Online.”

83,000 daily circulation

The paper’s last interim financial report said it had a daily average circulation of about 83,000 in Taiwan. Its Friday statement said it had not been able maintain its advertising revenue owing to the advent of websites like Google and Facebook.

The parent company of the newspaper, Next Digital, reported a loss of HK$146 million by the end of last September – a 53 per cent decrease in losses from the previous year – the financial report said.

Jimmy Lai
Jimmy Lai being transferred onto a Correctional Services vehicle on February 1, 2021. File Photo: Studio Incendo.

The newspaper also faced a restructuring in mid-2020 after the parent company shut down the Taiwan Next Magazine — its sister publication — last February.

Taiwan Apple Daily was founded by Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who is now behind bars for participating in an unauthorised but peaceful demonstration in 2019. A long-time target of Beijing, the pro-democracy businessman also faces a host of other charges related to the other pro-democracy protests, as well as national security charges. He is next due in court on Monday.

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Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.