China aims to establish global media company

05 July 2010

BEIJING: The Chinese government has established a new media company which it hopes will roll out 30 channels, to be made available around the world, in the next three years.

As part of a wider effort to develop domestic corporations capable of competing with multinational giants like Time Warner, China's authorities have backed the formation of CNC.

Xinhua, the state news agency, holds a 51% stake in CNC, with the remaining 49% in private hands - an unprecedented step in the domestic media sector.

The firms that have given their financial backing to this start-up include Gree, one of the biggest home appliance manufacturers in China.

CNC's first official output will be an English-language news network called CNC World, which will be run by Xinhua.

This station will be accessible on satellite platforms in various Asian markets, and should be on air in the UK and US by October 2010.

Looking ahead, CNC aims to leverage the support of foreign investors to introduce 30 stations across the globe, with the ultimate ambition of a public listing.

"We are open to outside investors, to joint ventures and to raising money in an IPO," said Zhao Peng, CNC's vice director. "We take any money – US dollars, yen or sterling."

In the meantime, CNC's news channel is seeking to improve perceptions of China among viewers living overseas.

However, Justin Ku, the founder of Blue Ocean Network, a commercial broadcaster based in China, and which also shows content in English, was doubtful it would achieve this goal.

"Addressing an international audience can only work if you speak their language and understand their minds,” he said.

"But they are state-owned, so they are not free to do that."

However, executives involved with the CNC project contested this view, asserting that their model was CNN, the US operator, rather than CCTV, the Chinese state broadcaster.

"We are a company, and we are in this for the business," said Wu Jincai, president of China Xinhua News TV Network.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff