Publications known for their criticism of the Chinese central government have reported difficulties in attracting advertisers in recent years because of fears among private business owners that the association would damage their economic interests on the mainland, Freedom House reports.
In 2014, as a confrontation over Hong Kong’s electoral reform loomed, a number of companies began pulling their advertisements from such outlets. In January, the head of AM730, one of Hong Kong’s few remaining print newspapers without a pro-Beijing editorial perspective or ties to the CCP, revealed that mainland Chinese companies had recently started to withdraw their advertising from his publication. Separately, Mark Simon, an executive at Next Media, announced in June 2014 that the British-based multinational banks HSBC and Standard Chartered had pulled millions of dollars in advertising from Apple Daily starting in late 2013. Simon attributed the decisions to pressure from Beijing, though the banks and the Chinese government’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong denied the claim.
Apple Daily also suffered financially from efforts by thuggish Occupy Central counterprotesters to disrupt distribution of the paper and destroy copies en masse.
In July 2014, the prodemocracy news website House News shut down, with the owner citing political pressure and a lack of advertisers.
Source: Freedom of the Press Index 2015 – Hong Kong: