Google has announced recipients of second round funding in its Asia Pacific Innovation Challenge.
Regional news and publishing lead Fazal Ashfaq says "our broader support for journalism" has accompanied the original objectives of the round when it was announced last October.
The first round had focussed on diversifying revenue, with Japanese local publisher Iwate Nippo developing a news and lifestyle app for elderly subscribers, and Australia's Crikey creating a group subscription model.
This time around, applicants were asked for proposals to increase reader engagement, and 18 projects are being funded of the 255 "strong submissions" received. "As in the first round, what set these organisations apart was the variety and creativity of their ideas," says Ashfaq.
They include a rural 'insights platform' by India's Gaon Connection, a collaboration by three local news providers in Korea - the Busan Daily, Maeil Daily and Gangwon Daily - and a new Australian Community Media platform for classified ads.
Ashfaq says strong Asia Pacific news industry has never been more important: "We're looking forward to seeing the selected applicants put their ideas into action."
Awards went to: Australia (Australian Community Media, The Conversation Media Group); Hong Kong (Matters Lab Limited, South China Morning Post); Indonesia (Kumparan); India (Gaon Connection, IE Online Media Services Private Limited, The Morning Context, The News Minute); Japan (Nippon Television Network Corporation); Korea (The DongAlibo, The Busan Daily with the Maeli Daily and the Gangwon Daily); Sri Lank (Roar Media); Malaysia (Media Prima); Pakistan (The Current); Singapore (Tech in Asia); and Taiwan (CommonWealth Education Media and Publishing Co, The News Lens).
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