Sky Post, one of Hong Kong’s free Chinese-language newspapers, will stop its printed version next month as it focuses on its online version.

Website of Sky Post
Website of Sky Post. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

Sky Post made the announcement in a Facebook post in Chinese on Wednesday. “Thank you readers for all your support, watching as Sky Post transformed from a free newspaper into an online media. As the Hong Kong Economic Times Group responds to market developments, Sky Post will publish its last printed version on September 15, 2023.”

Sky Post, which is part of the Hong Kong Economic Times Group, was established on July 27, 2011. According to its website, Sky Post targets Hong Kong’s middle class, providing news and information related to travel, health and entertainment. It is distributed free of charge every Monday to Friday.

As mentioned in the Facebook post, the online version will continue to publish articles about health, entertainment and family life.

According to local media reports, Sky Post held a staff meeting on Wednesday afternoon, which lasted for about 10 minutes. During the meeting, staff were reportedly told that the paper’s human resources department would meet employees one by one to discuss compensation. Most of the staff would be dismissed, according to another report.

Employees of a weekly financial magazine under the Hong Kong Economic Times Group, iMoney, were also called for an internal meeting on Wednesday, in which the management announced that the layout of the magazine would be changed, and that its two volumes may be reduced to one, local media reported.

Last Wednesday, U Magazine, a leisure magazine under the same group, also said that it would axe its print edition from September.

Facing a loss

The group said in its 2022/2023 annual report that:” [W]ith full relaxation of the pandemic related restrictions as well as reopening of borders, consumer sentiment began to improve and there were signs of rebound in the first quarter of 2023, though the recovery was still slow.”

Facebook page of Sky Post
Facebook page of Sky Post. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

The profit attributable to shareholders of the group, compared to last financial year, was reduced by HK$5.5 million to HK$27.5 million. However, the report said that it was calculated “after the government subsidies under the Anti-epidemic Fund of HK$33.3 million.”

Therefore, if the subsidies were deducted, the Group was facing a loss of about HK$5.8 million.

The report added that:” Over 60 per cent of the Group’s total revenue was generated from our digital platforms and information and solution businesses.”

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Mandy Cheng is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. Previously, she worked at Ming Pao, focusing on investigative and feature reporting. She also contributed to Cable TV and others.