The Chinese government has approved digital television broadcasting licenses to four operators in a bid to increase competition and end the monopoly previously held by China Central Television.

The four companies are: Shanghai TV, China Broadcast Network, CHC Home Cinema and a five company consortium including China National Radio.

By agreeing to issue the new licenses, the government hopes to create opportunities for foreign media investment, particularly in TV content and infrastructure, although legislation prevents overseas companies from holding broadcast licenses.

Until now, local pay-TV operators had been unable to produce their own channels and television content, but this is likely to change as the new licenses open up possibilities for increased competition and innovation in China's growing digital market.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff