China Opens Door To Foreign TV Investments

As part of a plan to revitalize its sprawling state-dominated media industry, China is lifting its ban on foreign investment in television, the Financial Times reported. Under the new policy, "strong and influential" foreign companies would be able to hold minority stakes in Chinese production companies, Zhu Hong of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television was quoted as saying. Foreign and domestic companies have been able to work together on film and television, but China has issued "clear permission for overseas and domestic companies to jointly create companies to make...programs," said Zhu. The report gave no timetable for the reforms.

Beijing hopes to raise the quality and quantity of content produced for the local market by increasing private sector involvement in the television business. Local private companies also would be allowed to jointly develop pay channels and fund plans to expand pay TV and DTV services.

China Daily Newspaper quoted Zhu as saying SARFT was "not currently considering" an expansion of the reach of foreign films in broadcasting, now limited to "landing rights" deals in the province of southern Guangdong.