The Chinese government announced last week it is to partner German electronics titan Siemens in an initiative to develop and market digital internet protocol television (IPTV) to the nation's massive 1.31 billion population.

Siemens is more than a tad enthusiastic at the prospect. "IPTV will be the core of our future business," whoops Norbert Muhrer, president/ceo of Sino-German joint venture Siemens Communication Networks.

China is not only one the first markets to run a commercial trial of IPTV services, according to Siemens, it is also "one of the largest IPTV markets in the world".

Currently mainland China boasts around 360m TV viewers plus 25m broadband users, between them creating a huge potential market for IPTV services.

A successful commercial trial covering 5,000 Shanghai households took place in August this year. Local market researchers predict that IPTV usage will soar, especially as China is to host the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

In Europe, according to recent research from Screen Digest, a London-based specialist in global audiovisual media, IPTV will by 2009 account for almost ten per cent of the European pay TV market [WAMN: 23-Nov-05].

Data sourced from China Daily; additional content by WARC staff