SPH's free paper gets ready welcome from readers - Jun 02, 2006 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SPH's free paper gets ready welcome from readers

By Feng Zengkun
Jun 02, 2006
The Straits Times

SNAPPY, accessible, and a pleasure to read.

Singapore's new Chinese freesheet My Paper, or Wo Bao, got an enthusiastic welcome from readers at its launch yesterday.

'This paper is great,' said Mr Quah Chum Yong, 'because I don't have a lot of time, and I can get everything I need in 20 minutes by reading this.'

The manager of wealth management at American Express was one of several executives among the invited guests at the free tabloid's launch at Raffles Place Park yesterday morning.

The latest addition to the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) stable, the paper features a mix of accessible English and Chinese, and is targeted at young professionals aged 20 to 40.

In-line skaters and vendors handed out the paper to eagerly awaiting crowds and passers-by during the morning rush hour, while mime artists posed with the paper for pictures.

SPH chief executive officer Alan Chan, who joined the editorial staff of My Paper to help distribute the first edition, was pleased with its reception.

'I picked up the paper at 6am to read,' he said, 'but my wife stole it from me after only a few minutes...she wanted to take it to her office for her colleagues to read.'

The executives were not the only ones satisfied. Nine-year-old Liu Shi Xin, was spotted reading the paper happily with her mother.

Shi Xin said: 'My mother is going to teach me all the words that I don't understand.'

Dispatch rider Lim Pin Juat, in his 50s, also judged it 'comprehensive with a very nice layout'.

The launch also featured a mini-concert with local stars like Kaira Gong Shi Jia and Joi Chua, drawing a 1,000-strong crowd.

SPH Chinese Newspapers and Newspaper Services Division executive vice-president Robin Hu said he was very proud of My Paper's shining debut, but there was still a long way to go.

He said: 'We want to make sure it's not only a good paper today, but a good paper every day.'

Added My Paper editor Goh Sin Teck: 'This is really going to be the readers' paper, so we want them to help shape the paper's content too.'

Besides the usual forum pages and hotlines, readers are invited to join reporters in interviewing guests like politicians and celebrities. The paper's blue masthead was also chosen by advertisers and the public. They picked it from three designs, by casting more than 36,000 votes at trade shows, and via the Net and SMS.

The My Paper in-line skaters will also be out this morning, distributing the paper at City Hall MRT station. There are also dance performances, appearances by UFM 100.3 DJs and competitions scheduled for the lunchtime crowd at Raffles Place Park and Caltex House.

My Paper is available from Tuesdays to Saturdays, except public holidays, at selected MRT stations, news-stands, shops and malls.