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Expand your mind with new Lianhe Zaobao - and widen your horizons

March 11, 2003 – Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore´s highest circulating Chinese daily, is getting a major makeover to make it more trendy, lively and fun and, at the same time, credible and authoritative to meet the changing needs and expectations of its readers and advertisers.

The paper turns 80 this year and to stay ahead, it is banking on its rich heritage and strong influence among Chinese readers the world over to reinvent itself to serve them even better.

It will take on a bold new look from March 27 to attract and engage the younger readers with brighter and snazzier layouts, and lively news stories on lifestyle trends, sports, entertainment, pop culture and IT.

But a key feature of the new Lianhe Zaobao, the Chinese flagship daily of Singapore Press Holdings, is to keep readers up to date with the rapid political, economic and social changes in China, an emerging economic powerhouse.

Already reputed to be the foremost Southeast Asian Chinese paper with a huge following among mainland Chinese, particularly for its online version Zaobao.com, the new Lianhe Zaobao will ride on this popularity and beef up its China news coverage to provide more comprehensive, insightful and in-depth stories, analyses and commentaries.

On the redesigned Lianhe Zaobao, taglined “Expand Your Mind”, its Editor Lim Jim Koon, said: “The phenomenal growth we are witnessing in China today is simply mind-boggling. All of a sudden, China has become the buzzword and people are hungry for information relating to the waking giant. This is especially so for Singaporeans.

“The revamped Lianhe Zaobao will significantly improve its China coverage, both in breadth and depth. We aim to be first and best in reporting China. We believe that the much-improved China coverage will help our readers expand their minds beyond Singapore and towards China, and benefit from it.”

A "Zaobao China" segment will lead the new Lianhe Zaobao’s second section, with two additional pages for China-related stories. The daily will also double its correspondents in China from the current five and expand its network of stringers in China to boost coverage.

"Zaobao China’ will become the main source of news and views on China in Singapore. It will further consolidate Lianhe Zaobao’s position as an authoritative and leading newspaper in covering China," added Mr Lim Jim Koon.

Mr Tham Khai Wor, SPH’s Executive Vice President of Marketing, said at a trade presentation of the redesigned Lianhe Zaobao at Swissotel The Stamford on Tuesday night (March 11): "In SPH, we go out of the way to create value for our readers and advertisers.

"To us, a revamp or redesign are not negative terms. A change is always for the better because we want to stay relevant, fresh and in tune with market demands. And we want to do it right everyday.

"We are always on the lookout for opportunities to collaborate with our advertisers and grow our relationship with our readers whose expectations are rising."

Why the need for a makeover?

Mr Lim said: "Like any other products in the market, Lianhe Zaobao must keep up with the changing times. It has to keep its fingers on the pulse of the market and stay in tune with the latest trends."

Apart from the strengthened China news coverage, the line-up which readers can expect in the new-look Lianhe Zaobao, which will see more colour pages, pictures, graphics, bite-sized reports and punchy headlines, are:

  • Zaobao Sports: To give sports news more prominence, it will run on the back page of the main section. There will be an extra page for reports on the popular English premier league, NBA and S-League matches, as well as on Chinese athletes who are making waves in the international sports scene.
  • zbNOW: This lifestyle section of Lianhe Zaobao is already a hit with the young and trendy. To draw more such readers, two more pages will be added to provide reports on the hip happenings in town, the latest on the entertainment and fashion scenes, as well as new and emerging cultures in cosmopolitan China.
    On the jazzed-up zbNOW, Mr Lim said: “We are turning zbNOW into a more sassy and trendy section. zbNOW is our trump card to woo more young readers.”

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited.

For more information, please contact:

Irene Ngoo
Assistant Vice President
Corporate Relations
Tel: 6319 1216
Email: ingoo@sph.com.sg
Esther Low
Assistant Manager
Corporate Relations
Tel: 6319 1280
Email: lowjwe@sph.com.sg

About SPH
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading news and information provider, offering quality content for print, Internet, TV and radio. It is licensed to publish 15 newspapers in the four official languages and six lifestyle periodicals. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of 15 newspapers published by SPH while online publication of its six main dailies enjoy some 120 million page views a month. SPH has ventured into the broadcast medium and operates two popular free-to-air TV channels, Channel U in Chinese and Channel i in English.

About Lianhe Zaobao
The flagship Chinese newspaper of SPH, Lianhe Zaobao is the highest circulating Chinese daily in Singapore. It is an influential newspaper giving valuable insights into local and foreign news, and is regarded as an important source of political and economic news on East Asia, especially China.

With an extensive correspondent network in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hongkong, Taipei and Indonesia, and experienced stringers in the Philippines, Japan, Europe and America, Lianhe Zaobao is able to give readers timely and in-depth coverage of significant events taking place in the region and beyond.

Besides Singapore, Lianhe Zaobao is circulated in Indonesia, Brunei, Hongkong, Vietnam and major cities of China like Beijing and Shanghai. In fact, Lianhe Zaobao is the only foreign Chinese newspaper given circulation rights in China.

The Chinese daily has also established its brand in China through its online edition, Zaobao.com, which enjoys some 1.5 million pageviews daily, with more than half its users from China.

Lianhe Zaobao has a circulation of 188,000 copies on weekdays and 201,000 copies on Sundays with a daily readership of about 700,000.


Speech by Mr Lim Jim Koon, Editor of Lianhe Zaobao, at “Expand Your Mind with New Lianhe Zaobao” Trade Presentation on Tuesday, March 11, 2003 at 7.30pm at the Canning and Padang rooms of Swissotel The Stamford

Thank you very much for attending Zaobao’s trade launch tonight. It is not often that the Chinese-language media here holds a major trade event like this. I would like to take this rare opportunity to share with you the exciting changes that Zaobao is coming up with. With China rising rapidly, the Chinese language gaining economic value, and Zaobao becoming more prominent and influential, tonight’s event has taken on added significance.

Lianhe Zaobao, as you all know, is not only the leading Chinese-language daily in Singapore, but also the foremost Southeast Asian Chinese paper with the widest reach and greatest influence in the Chinese world. It is the only foreign Chinese-language newspaper permitted to circulate in China. Its online version Zaobao.com enjoys a daily pageviews of 1.5 million, which is way ahead of any local news website in the region. Zaobao.com is particularly popular among mainland Chinese, and this explains why Zaobao is such a famous brand name in China.

Why, then, is there a need to revamp Zaobao?

Like any other products in the market, Zaobao needs to move with the changing times. It has to keep its finger on the pulse of the market and stay in tune with the latest trends. It also has to meet the increasing demands of readers who want the latest information and better insights into the fast-changing political and economic landscape to remain informed and competitive.

But the most important reason for relaunching Zaobao is really China.

The phenomenal growth we are witnessing in China today is simply mind-boggling. And hardly a day passes without any news on the rapid developments in China being reported in the major media throughout the world. All of a sudden, China has become the buzzword and people are hungry for information relating to the waking giant. This is especially so for Singaporeans. The new Zaobao will significantly improve its China coverage, both in breadth and depth, to meet readers’ rising needs and expectations. We want to enhance our China focus, making it Zaobao’s key differentiator.

We aim to be the first and the best in reporting on China. We want to be the leading daily source of news and views on China. We want to make Zaobao the must-read for those who are interested in China.

This is part of the reason why we have come up with the tagline "Expand Your Mind". We believe that the much-improved China coverage in the all-new Zaobao will help readers to expand their mind beyond Singapore and towards China, and benefit from it.

The other main reason for the revamp is to attract young readers.

Young readers are important to any newspaper. To ensure continuous and steady growth, we have to attract more young people to read Zaobao. Zaobao’s readership has to be rejuvenated to achieve a younger profile. Young people are also big spenders, the economic downturn notwithstanding. We want to attract more young people to read Zaobao, not only to acquire knowledge and keep up with current affairs, but also to keep up with lifestyle trends and obtain information about the latest products in the market. To achieve this, Zaobao needs a makeover that will appeal to the young. It will project a whole new image that is refreshing, colourful and eye-catching. It will also devote more space for news on sports, entertainment, popular culture and IT - the staple diet of today’s youths.

What this means for businesses is that Zaobao will become an even more effective platform to sell their products to the young and trendy.

I shall now brief you on the changes to be made:

Zaobao China

  1. A new "Zaobao China" will be launched. Section two of Zaobao will be given a prominent China frontage. All China-related news will be reorganised under this section to provide better focus, greater prominence, easier navigation and maximum impact.
  2. There will be two extra pages of China news.
  3. Business news on China will be enhanced.
  4. Beef up our China Bureaux. The number of correspondents in China which now stands at five, will soon be doubled. Zaobao will also build up a network of stringers in China.

Zaobao China will become the main source of accurate information and insightful views on China in Singapore. It will further consolidate Zaobao’s position as an authoritative and leading newspaper in covering China and make Zaobao a compelling read for those who wish to keep abreast of rapid developments in the economic powerhouse. "Zaobao China" will be the key selling point of the new Zaobao.


Zaobao Sports

  1. Sports news will be published on the back cover of Zaobao’s main section to make them more prominent.
  2. There will be an extra page of sports news.
  3. Coverage on EPL, NBA, and S League, etc will be enhanced.
  4. Chinese sports stars of international fame will be featured more prominently.

Young readers are invariably drawn to sports news and we want to capitalise on the sports craze. Zaobao Sports will make itself attractive to young Singaporeans and to Chinese immigrants here.

zbNOW

  1. zbNOW is already a successful brand name that appeals to young readers. We want to ride on its popularity and press ahead with this advantage.
  2. zbNOW will have two extra pages of reports on the hippest and trendiest happenings that will capture the attention of young people.
  3. There will be more reports on what’s in and what’s out in entertainment, fashion, recreational activities and lifestyles, etc.
  4. There will be more coverage on the new and emerging cultural scenes in cosmopolitan China, where East meets West and modernity blends with tradition.

The new zbNOW promises to be even livelier, trendier and more enriching. It will be an important vehicle for Zaobao to woo young readers and an
excellent platform for businesses to connect with them.

At the same time, Zaobao will be given a facelift. The redesigned Zaobao will have the following features:

  1. Many more colour pages.
  2. Layout and design that are refreshing and eye-catching.
  3. More blurbs to grab eyeballs and advertise contents.
  4. Bite-sized reports and plenty of pictures and graphics.
  5. Catchy and punchy headlines.
  6. Use of more English terms to help young readers.

The makeover will rejuvenate Zaobao and give it a new and refreshing look. This is in line with the current trend and will make Zaobao even more popular with its readers, especially the younger ones.

We are convinced that the new Zaobao will have greater appeal. It will become even more relevant to Singaporeans and a must-read for many of them. We are also confident that more young people will take to reading Zaobao. Zaobao China, Zaobao Sports, zbNOW and the new-look Zaobao are all compelling reasons for reading Lianhe Zaobao.

Readers will no doubt benefit from the change, but advertisers will also find out very soon that the new Zaobao will present them with an even better platform for reaching out to the increasingly important Chinese-language newspaper readers. You will discover that advertising in the new Zaobao is a high value-added investment, and making Zaobao a business partner will boost your image and reputation. We should seize the opportunity together to forge a closer partnership to ride on China’s growth and to scale new heights.

We will take full advantage of the present conditions that are favourable for the further growth of Zaobao. And as we grow, we hope that all our business partners will also enjoy the benefits and grow with us.


Speech by Mr Tham Khai Wor, Executive Vice President, SPH Marketing, at “Expand Your Mind with New Lianhe Zaobao” Trade Presentation on Tuesday, March 11, 2003 at 7.30pm at the Canning and Padang rooms of Swissotel The Stamford

In Singapore Press Holdings, we are never satisfied being good.

We gear ourselves towards creating value for our readers and advertisers, by constantly pushing ourselves beyond doing the day-to-day.

We pride ourselves as being flexible and we strive to be nimble.

At SPH, we see change as a way of doing things right, doing them differently and seeing innovation as a necessity.

Like all products, brands and businesses must stay fresh, relevant and in demand. It´s all about the right association, the right time and the right idea.

The new Lianhe Zaobao is that, the right association, it´s the pride of the Chinese-literate. It has the variety of assets for breaking into people´s hearts and minds.

Lianhe Zaobao has some 750,000 loyal readers every day.

Unfortunately, they are the most misunderstood group of consumers among advertisers and advertising agencies.

They have grown substantially in affluence. Ten years ago, their median monthly household income was $2,900. It is now $3,700, a 28% growth.

Median monthly personal income has grown by 54%.

Many of them have migrated from the HDB heartlands to landed property and condominiums. In the last ten years, a 60% growth.

They are better off in terms of education, earning power, asset acquisition and investments.

533,000 have fixed deposits and unit trusts.

1.2 million have insurance policies for protection, investment and retirement.

366,000 live in households with cars, an 86% increase from ten years ago. Travelling has become a regular pursuit.

Last year in Singapore, there were 246 flights a week to China, served by 8 airlines. Ten years ago, there were only 16 flights and 2 airlines.

Trips made between Singapore and China are close to one million and still growing.

So, don´t blame this property, the carrier.

Is it the lack of product relevance or a lack of compelling ideas which are preventing advertisers and advertising agencies from responding to this group of consumers?

If brands fail to use Lianhe Zaobao, then the brand-owners can bid farewell to building equity, growth and higher market share. Because simply to win, you must collaborate with this group of consumers.

For once, with the new Lianhe Zaobao, throw away your obsession with numbers.

It is building loyalty and constantly engaging the new Lianhe Zaobao readers that will count.

With greater media proliferation and fragmentation, amidst a weak economic environment, it is prudent for advertisers to stay with established and proven media.

Now is the best time to bond with the Chinese-literate consumers, through the Chinese newspapers, starting with the new Lianhe Zaobao.

Otherwise, when better times return, you will not have the leverage.

Thank you and enjoy the rest of the evening.