Hong Kong Economic Journal
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|Founder(s)||Lam Shan-muk (林山木)|
|Publisher||Shun Po Co., Ltd|
|Editor-in-chief||Alice Kwok Yim-ming|
|Founded||3 July 1973|
|Hong Kong Economic Journal|
The Hong Kong Economic Journal (HKEJ, Chinese: 信報財經新聞). 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, usually political 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 Hong Kong Economic Journal was founded by Lam Shan-muk (林山木), commonly known by his pen name 林行止 (Lam Hang Chi), who first worked as a data collector for Hong Kong Ming Pao during the 1960s and later as an assistant editor for the evening version of Ming Pao—and Law Chi-Ping (Chinese: 羅治平; pinyin: Luó ZhìPíng) – who withdrew his shares later. Together they saw the possibility of developing an economic journal for the Hong Kong public in the early 1970s (although some sources have suggested that it was Lok Yau-Mui (駱友梅), his wife, and not Law Chi-Ping who was the true co-founder) and the newspaper was first published on 3 July 1973.
Shortly after the publication of newspaper, the Hong Kong stock market experienced the first significant historical fall as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. Nonetheless, the Hong Kong economy had recovered by 1976 and the newspaper eventually became one of the most influential newspapers in the Chinese media world.
In Sep 2006, a new shareholder (Clermont Media Limited, a BVI company) acquired the majority shareholding of the company. Today, Chief Editor of the newspaper is Alice Kwok Yim-Ming 郭艷明.
In July 2008, HKEJ launched its official website [www.hkej.com] which contains the daily newspaper content, instant news, real time stock quotes and different kinds of financial data and information.
In February 2011, HKEJ launched its English website, EJ Insight.
The Journal's pages are categorised 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:
- cultures columns (movies, drama, Cantonese Opera, book review, Chinese classical music, cultural policies, city review, etc.)
- personal interviews
The " Editorial" part contains:
- China and international discussion parts
- the founder's (Mr. Lam) 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.
EJ Insight is the online English language news website of the Hong Kong Economic Journal. It was launched in February 2011. The content comprises a mix of original English reporting and pieces translated from the Chinese language HKEJ.
Style and characteristics
The reports and commentaries of the HKEJ are regarded as objective, fair and well-balanced compared with other Hong Kong newspapers. The editors have been known as being quite outspoken and bold; often criticising the HKSAR government and the Chinese central government in its 'Editorial' section. The editors frequently espouse sceptical views of government interventions and policies, reflecting their affirmation towards the Chicago school 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 HKEJ mainly focuses on reporting government policies and financial affairs, soft news plays a relatively minor role in its operations. 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' content and sensationalise or exaggerate the harder news to promote sales. Unlike tabloid newspapers, the HKEJ features few graphics, with the print edition being primarily text. Advertisements or narrative-style news stories are not found on the front cover. As a result of this focus on content over style, the HKEJ does not enjoy sales figures as high as many other Hong Kong news publications.
The HKEJ also frequently contains detailed information on the funding market, including interpretation of, and changes in, the fund market. These columns are relatively rare in other newspaper in Hong Kong.
A collaborated HKEJ weekly column with Wisers Information Limited has been launched since 2015 analyzing the stock market with media popularity and media sentiment, which is also rare in Hong Kong local newspaper.
Role in Hong Kong and China
The HKEJ plays an important role in relating HKSAR and the People's Republic of China (PRC) as many senior officials of PRC seem to regard the Journal as a true reflection of Hong Kong situation. For example, during July 2003 (when the Hong Kong people organised a protest march against the government's plan to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law), 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 implemented. 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.
There are two columns in HKEJ which deserve special attention: Mr. Lam's "Political and Economical Review" (林行止政經短評) and Mr. Cho's "Investor's Diary" (投資者日記).
Since 1973, Mr. Lam has been writing the Journal's Editorial (i.e. Political and Economical Review), but even before that, his insightful views on the economy were already recognised by Mr. Louis Cha (then the boss of Ming Pao) 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 organise 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 (PRC) 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 (and perhaps even popularise) 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.
In July 2016 the paper suspended the column of Joseph Lian Yi-zheng. Lian, a former member of the Central Policy Unit as well as the former editor-in-chief of HKEJ, had recently written pieces sympathetic to the localist movement, leading to allegations that his dismissal was motivated by self-censorship. A group of current and former HKEJ staff penned a letter demanding that editor-in-chief Alice Kwok Yim-ming revoke and explain the decision.
A monthly magazine by the name of 'Hong Kong Economic Journal Monthly' (信報財經月刊) is associated with the newspaper. First published in March 1977, this magazine also belongs to Hong Kong Economic Journal 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. The current chief editor of the magazine is Mr. Vincent Teng Chuen-Cheong 鄧傳鏘.
It was reported that, as early as 10 January 2006, the Lam's family was in negotiation with Richard Li (head of Hong Kong-based telecommunication giant PCCW) and another local mass-media company for the sale of the newspaper. On 9 August 2006, Clemont Media Limited, in which Li is the settler of the trust, bought a 50% stake in the newspaper. In August 2014, Clermont Media Limited acquired the remaining shares from Shun Po Company Limited and wholly owned the Company.
- "EJ Insight". Hong Kong Economic Journal. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- Tong, Elson (29 July 2016). "HK Economic Journal to suspend veteran political commentator Joseph Lian’s column". Hong Kong Free Press.
- Lin, Gene (2 August 2016). "HK Economic Journal should restore outspoken writer’s column, says letter from employees". Hong Kong Free Press.
- Lau, Justine (11 January 2006). "HK mulls Richard Li’s newspaper aspirations".