BEIJING: China is to launch a nationwide project to promote the convergence of its TV, radio, internet and telecommmunications networks.

The State Council, chaired by Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, proposed the construction of closer links between existing services, potentially tightening state control over communications services.

Ministers said the integration process should be designed to boost the "information security" of consumers.

The convergence project is to be completed by 2015, with TV and telecoms to be prioritised between 2010-12 and online integration the focus for the remaining three years.

The general concept of the infrastructure project was previously mentioned by the government as part of the nation's five-year plan for 2006-10.

However, the new statement marks the first occasion on which a definite timetable has been set out for the project.

China currently has the world's largest telecom and internet markets, in terms of user numbers.

Earlier this week, Google suggested that it would stop censoring search results from domestic users of its portal.

The US firm also said it had suffered sophisticated hacker attacks from within China, and raised the possibility that it might eventually have to withdraw from the nation entirely.

This move would increase the market share of Baidu, China's leading search engine.

Data sourced from Xinhua/AFP/MarketWatch/CCTV; additional content by Warc staff