Chinese buy foothold in UK TV

14 July 2009

WENZHOU: Chinese company Xiking Group from Wenzhou in Zheijang province is reported to have purchased Propellor TV, a small UK-based digital TV channel which broadcasts on the Sky platform.

Leeds-based Propellor was set up February 2006 to provide a showcase for independent film makers with backing from various groups, including the UK Learning and Skills Council. Propellor claimed to be the only satellite TV station to broadcast 100% original materials and had planned to grow a network including Spain and Sweden.

However Xiking chief executive Ye Maoxi, who also heads Wenzhou's chamber of commerce in Beijing, says that he became aware of its need for further funding on a Chinese trade delegation to the UK earlier this year.

Ye says, "there will be specific progammes to introduce China and Wenzhou with some to be broadcast in Chinese. It will be a venue for the Europeans to know more about China and for overseas Chinese to get immediate information about their homeland."

To date Chinese investment in Europe has chiefly been in the manufacturing sector, including the takeover of the rump of the Rover car business in the UK. Chinese companies have also shown interest in Opel and Vauxhall, two of the General Motors European car businesses placed on the market after GM went into administration.

Ethnic-focussed channels have been one of the successes of digital TV in the UK, sometimes building bigger audiences than mainstream digital channels and attracting a loyal following among advertisers.

Data sourced from China Daily; additional content from WARC staff