Beijing Media Makes Robust Shares Debut

24 December 2004

China's desire to commercialise its state media industry - coupled with foreign investors' frenzy to grab a slice of the action - saw spectacular results this week.

The public offering of Beijing Media shares valued at around HK$904.7 million ($116m, €86m, £60m) was four-hundred-and-twenty times oversubscribed, rocketing the price by nearly 20% in early trading.

The company is the advertising and sales unit of the popular Beijing Youth Daily newspaper.

Among the largest investors is Naspers, South Africa's biggest media company, which bought around 40 per cent of the offering and now has 9.9% stake in the company.

Says Zhang Yanping chairman of Beijing Media's parent: "We will work together with Naspers on TV development."

The company is also in talks with Chinese domestic TV stations over plans to launch new channels.

The issue of shares to overseas investors is an experimental move by a government keen to modernise the sector but also determined to keep control over content. As a result foreign investment is limited to non-core spinoffs which must remain under Chinese management.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff