The 32-year-old Express News folded as well as the pro-Taiwan United Daily News, with a total loss of 550 jobs.
Their closures came after the Oriental Daily News, Hong Kong Daily News, Apple Daily, Sing Pao Daily News and Tin Tin Daily News all dropped their newsstand prices.
Howard Gorges, a director of the South China Group, which owned the Express, predicted the price battle, which began in mid-December, will be "bloody, messy and prolonged."
According to the Morning Post, the slashing began with the mass circulation Oriental Daily News, which lowered its price from $5 to $2 (Hong Kong). It was quickly followed by the Apple Daily, which went to $4 and Tin Tin to $2. Hong Kong Daily News then sliced its price to $1.
The Hong Kong Economic Times reported, however, that several dailies, including United Daily News and the Commercial Daily, were sticking to their $5 price.
Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien, chairman of the Hong Kong Legislative Council's recreation and culture panel, called for monopoly laws to restrain bigger media companies from destroying smaller rivals.
Wong told the Morning Post that because of mainland China's takeover of Hong Kong in 1997, a diverse press is important to freedom of speech.
"This is something that we have to guard to protect ourselves," she said.
Wong's panel determines the government's media policy.
Ivan Tong Kam-piu, president of the Hong Kong Journalists' Association, commented about Wong's remarks: "I think that kind of thing is definitely worth looking into."
He noted that in the shutdowns, journalists accounted for half the job losses, including 20 members of the association.
In short, the black press realized
significance far better than the mainstream press
Lamb is an assistant professor of journalism at Old Dominion University. Bleske is an assistant professor of journalism at California State University, Chico.
By: Editorial Staff TWO HONG KONG dailies have been forced out of business in a bitter newspaper price war, the colony's South China Morning Post reported.