A Hong Kong independent news service unveiled at the start of the week has raced to its initial fund-raising target of HK$150,000 within 48 hours of the site being announced.
Hong Kong Free Press is an independent website that plans to launch at a time when press freedom in Hong Kong faces almost unprecedented pressure in the wake of the Occupy Central pro-democracy demonstrations at the end of last year.
The venture, which is being led by journalist Tom Grundy, announced a crowdfunding initiative to sustain the site for its first two months. That target – to raise HK$150,000 in 30 days – was met within two days through FringeBacker.com.
In a statement released today, HKFP said:
The Hong Kong Free Press team are grateful for the unprecedented response to our campaign – thanks to our backers, we achieved our initial goal within 48 hours. This original target was set to sustain HKFP throughout our two-month start-up period with minimal staff.
Further contributions will strengthen our independence, help us to kick-off stronger and will bolster our capacity to provide a much-needed credible news source for Hong Kong. Every HK$50,000 provides the basics for us to survive for an extra month, support an extra reporter and build audience in order to become self-sustaining.
Please continue to share our project over the coming month and many thanks to all who have supported us so far!
The target was met through 176 different contributions. “Several gave four and five-figure sums, but we mostly achieved our target through contributions of up to HK$500,” Grundy told Mumbrella.
HKFP also intends to bring in revenue through membership, advertising, events, donations and content provision.
The site announced when it launched: “The Umbrella Movement protests exposed a gap between the Chinese and English media. Some stories, themes and angles featured in the Chinese media were missed or ignored by the English press – other stories took days to be reported on. A free, unfiltered online English news source that bridges this gap is overdue.”