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Zaobao.com launches NewsTalk – a ground-breaking approach to learning Chinese

Singapore, 8 April 2014 – NewsTalk, an innovative new offering by Lianhe Zaobao’s online news portal zaobao.com, will soon be available to help those wishing to learn or master the Chinese language. 

To be launched on 9 April, NewsTalk is a joint product of 
zaobao.com and award-winning technology developer GistXL Technology (GistXL). The revolutionary online learning platform uses current affairs and advance language technology to provide an engaging way for learners to learn Chinese as a "living language". 

NewsTalk users have access to thousands of current articles from Lianhe Zaobao, the flagship Chinese daily newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). Every article containspinyin, audio and keyword definitions in English to help readers along. Users can read out individual phrases or full sentences to the computer and receive comprehensive feedback of their pronunciation and fluency almost instantly, allowing them to practise and improve at their own pace. Other advanced functions such as personalised dictionaries, annotations and audio downloads are available to provide a comprehensive learning environment.
 
Users can browse and search for articles by level of difficulty, keywords or category (Singapore, China, World, Business, Lifestyle, Entertainment, Sports and Opinion) to read and practice on topics that are of interest to them. This approach provides a sustained and engaging learning experience while allowing users to acquire vocabulary that is relevant in real-life settings.

This means that NewsTalk can benefit not just students but also working adults who need to use the Chinese language in their work. NewsTalk helps them acquire not only competence in the language but also knowledge of what is happening in the larger Chinese-speaking world, allowing them to communicate in the language more effectively.

One of the most innovative functions of NewsTalk is the User Upload function. Users can upload their own articles, whether a short story, a poem or a speech, to be instantly converted into audio,
pinyin and assessable content. This means that a user can listen to the article, refer to the pinyin and even practice reading out loud for a real-time score just seconds after uploading.

Dr Zhou Zhao Cheng, Editor of 
zaobao.com, said: “NewsTalk is a new service for both local and international users who already have a foundation in the Chinese language, but would like to further improve their reading and speaking skills. We hope that, through the use of engaging news articles from Lianhe Zaobao and via the interactive online platform, they can enjoy the learning process even more and at their own convenience.”

Mr Tan Dan Feng, Executive Director of GistXL Technology, said: “Lianhe Zaobao is one of the most trusted names in the global Chinese language media scene, whether in terms of the quality of writing, breadth of content or level of insight. Using advanced language technology, Zaobao content can be turned into a very effective tool for learning the Chinese language. NewsTalk users will not only improve their language skills but also their knowledge of Chinese culture and developments in the Chinese-speaking world.”

NewsTalk will be officially launched on 9 April. Users who register from now till 30 June get to enjoy a promotional rate of just $99 (excluding GST) for a one-year subscription. 

For more information, please visit 
http://newstalk.zaobao.sg 



Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E


For media queries, please contact:

Adrian Cheong
Manager
Corporate Communications Division
Tel: 6319 2261
Mobile: 9798 6097
Email: 
cheongcy@sph.com.sg

About GistXL Technology Pte Ltd

GistXL develops, customises and manages software and services that allow governments, corporations and individuals to overcome language barriers and reap the full advantages of globalisation. These include translation technologies, language learning technologies and other cross-language technologies and applications. GistXL is headquartered in Singapore and has development sites in Singapore and the People's Republic of China. It is a National Infocomm Award prize winner and a recipient of national research grants. Its core development team has more than a decade of experience in the field of natural language processing. Its clients include major multinational corporations and government agencies.


About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms.


Newspapers, Magazines and Book Publishing 

SPH has 19 titles licensed under the Newspaper Printing and Presses Act, of which nine are daily newspapers across four languages. On an average day, 3.05 million individuals or 76 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH's news publications. SPH also publishes and produces more than 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology. SPH's subsidiaries, Straits Times Press and Focus Publishing, produce quality books and periodicals in English and Chinese.


Internet and Mobile

Beyond print, SPH's suite of digital products, including online editions of newspapers and magazines, as well as mobile applications, enjoy over 400 million page views with 20 million unique visitors every month. Apart from AsiaOne, SPH’s online and new media initiatives include ST701, the leading online marketplace for jobs (STJobs), property (STProperty), cars (STCars) and general classifieds (STClassifieds); Stomp, 
omy.sg and The Straits Times RazorTV. SPH also launched The Straits Times’ iPad and enhanced iPhone applications, an Android smartphone application and The Business Times’ iPhone application. SPH’s Chinese flagship newspaper Lianhe Zaobao has also launched its digital editions which include a web application, as well as online and PDF versions.

Broadcasting

In the radio business, SPH Radio Pte Ltd operates entertainment stations UFM 100.3 in Mandarin, as well as Kiss92 and HOT FM91.3 in English. SPH has a 20 per cent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8 and U, and a 40 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Limited, which publishes the free newspaper, Today. 


Events and Out-of-Home Advertising

SPH’s events arm Sphere Exhibits organises innovative consumer and trade events and exhibitions as well as large scale conferences in Singapore and the region. In addition, SPH has ventured into out-of-home (OOH) advertising through its digital out-of-home platform SPHMBO. 


Properties

SPH REIT is a Singapore-based REIT established principally to invest, directly or indirectly, in a portfolio of income-producing real estate which is used primarily for retail purposes in Asia-Pacific, as well as real estate-related assets. SPH REIT is managed by SPH REIT Management Pte. Ltd., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings Limited. 

The initial portfolio of SPH REIT comprises the following two high quality and well located commercial properties in Singapore:

· Paragon, a premier upscale retail mall and medical suite/office property, well known for its upscale mall housing many luxury brands, located in the heart of Orchard Road; and
· The Clementi Mall, a mid-market suburban mall located in the centre of Clementi town, an established residential estate in the west of Singapore. 

The Seletar Mall is SPH's latest retail development and is expected to open at the end of 2014. This property is a potential asset to be injected into SPH REIT. SPH’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Times Development Pte Ltd, also developed a 43-storey upmarket residential condominium, Sky@eleven, at Thomson Road.