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SPH Digital wins first prize at Google hackathon

SINGAPORE, June 2017 - A four-man team from SPH Digital bagged the top prize at the Google PWA/AMP Hackathon held on May 16 at Google Asia Pacific at Mapletree Business City.

They led the field which included seven other teams from regional tech companies and startups in the food, transportation, home renovation and mobile app development industries.

The hackathon was a follow-up to the Google Mobile Academy event in April, where organisations were invited to deploy a working prototype of Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and/or Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).  These two technologies were also extensively featured at the 2017 Google I/O in May.

The Straits Times Agile Tech team, which comprises Pabbineedi Venkata Harsha Vardhan, Ken Chua Wah Soon, Prem Kumar Kailasu and Venkadesh Kumar Chinnama Naidu, was the only team at the Hackathon who created a prototype that combined PWA and AMP.

This will make the paper’s website perform better on mobile devices, especially Android ones. With this, the site’s digital readers will enjoy the best user experience when accessing it on their mobile devices.

PWAs take advantage of new features supported by modern browsers so that web apps, which link straight to the content they link to, can feel more like an actual app and not just a tab.  Websites will load faster and can work even without any network connection.

Mr Chua said: “Being in The Straits Times Agile team, we are passionate to explore ways to always improve on our Straits Times product. Hence, we took up the challenge to PWA and AMP-ify our current ST website.”

The teams were judged according to the number of implementations within PWA/AMP that were accomplished, quality of implementations done as shown through a demo, the amount of progress made from the state the current site was on, as well as the Lighthouse score out of 100, of which SPH scored 95 out of 100. Lighthouse is a popular tool used to diagnose the quality of Progressive Web Apps. 

Of their win, Mr Chua said: “We were equally encouraged by (the judges’) enthusiasm, and also at the fruit of our labour -  a website that loads in less than 3 seconds, and offers offline browsing capability.”

The panel of judges from Google comprises Manan Mehta, APAC Solutions Engineering Manager; Kumar Gaurav, IN/SEA Technical Specialist; Gloria Wee, APAC Senior Business Manager; and Minh Nguyen,  SEA Mobile Solutions Manager.

Mr Julian Tan, Head of SPH Digital, said: “This win shows the commitment SPH Digital has in exploring what can be done with the latest technologies to ensure that our digital products are always stable, secure, and at the top of its class.”

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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.


The English/Malay/Tamil Media group comprises the print and digital operations of The Straits Times, The Business Times, The New Paper, Berita Harian and their respective student publications. It also includes subsidiaries Tamil Murasu Ltd, which publishes Tamil Murasu and tabla!; book publishing arm Straits Times Press; SPH Data Services, which licenses the use of the Straits Times Index in partnership with the Singapore Exchange and FTSE-Russell Ltd; financial data company ShareInvestor; the two English stations of SPH Radio - Kiss92 and ONE FM 91.3 and SPH Golf (including SPH Pacom Ltd). 

The Chinese Media group publishes three Chinese newspapers in print and digital format - Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News; four student weeklies - zbCOMMA, Thumbs Up, Thumbs Up Junior and Thumbs Up Little Junior, and ZBBZ Newsgazine. It also operates SPH Radio's Chinese radio station, UFM100.3, and Focus Publishing, which produces a range of books and magazines including U-Weekly.

SPH's other new media initiatives include AsiaOne, Stomp, and SPH Razor. 

On an average day, 2.5 million* individuals or 59 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH's news publications in print copies or one of our digital platforms. 
* Nielsen Media Index 2016, Monday-Sunday, read any SPH newspapers in print or digital format)

SPH Magazines, SPH's wholly-owned subsidiary, publishes and produces more than 100 magazine titles and has various online sites, like and in Singapore and the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology. It has also invested in digital newsstand Magzter.

SPH also provides out-of-home (OOH) advertising options where it manages large format digital screens and static billboards at key locations in the Central Business District, Orchard Road, City Fringe as well as major heartland hubs.

SPH Buzz is a modern retail convenience chain with a network of stores around the island.

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.


SPH REIT is a Singapore-based REIT established to invest in a portfolio of income-producing real estate primarily for retail purposes. SPH REIT comprises Paragon, a premier upscale retail mall and medical suite/office property in Orchard Road and The Clementi Mall, a mid-market suburban mall in the centre of Clementi town.

The Seletar Mall, located in Sengkang, is SPH's latest retail development. 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.

Other Businesses

Online Classifieds

SPH’s online classifieds include the leading online marketplace for jobs (STJobs, FastJobs), property (STProperty), cars (STCars) and general classifieds (STClassifieds,Trezo), sgCarMart and StreetSine.

SPH's regional joint venture online classifieds business has a number of leading online classifieds sites in the region.

Events and Exhibitions

Sphere Exhibits, Sphere Conferences, Exhibits Inc and Bizlink Exhibition Services organise innovative consumer and trade events and exhibitions as well as large scale conferences in Singapore and the region. 


SPH owns Orange Valley which operates nursing homes. 


SPH has a 22 per cent stake in preschool and enrichment provider MindChamps.

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