Investors look to foreign media

07:37, March 26, 2010      

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Chinese private investment in Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has now extended to the media sector.
ASEAN Finance, a Chinese business magazine established by three businessmen in Anhui Province, will soon debut in both ASEAN countries and China, said CEO Hsin Ling Chi at a press conference held in Beijing Thursday.

The bimonthly magazine, authorized by Singaporean authorities September 28, is now running trials and initiating an investigation on Chinese enterprises' investment in the ASEAN region.

"The magazine aims to provide commercial and trade information for ASEAN members, and serve as a platform for communication between Chinese and ASEAN enterprises," said Ruan Yonggang, one of the founders and chairman of Anhui International Cooperation Investment Company.

Ruan plans to launch more services including offering video information and holding forums, and hopes to take the media business public in three to five years overseas.

The launch of the magazine echoes the expanding business ties between China and ASEAN. Chinese trade with ASEAN members surged 66 percent to $39.12 billion in the first two months of 2010, according to the General Administration of Customs.

"The establishment of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, the world's third largest free-trade area, has brought huge business opportunities for ASEAN and Chinese enter-prises," said Wang Yunze, vice chairman of the China-ASEAN Association. "The magazine will enhance the communication between the two sides."

This is not the first time that private investment has gone to overseas media.

Wenzhou merchants began to invest in the overseas media market in the 1970s, and now they own more than 20 television and radio stations, newspapers and magazines scattered in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, according to the Wenzhou Returned Overseas Chinese Association.

Ye Maoxi, a Wenzhou merchant and president of Xiking Group, bought out Propeller TV, a UK digital satellite television channel, in June. Ye said it would serve as a venue for Europeans to know more about China, and for overseas Chinese to get immediate information on their homeland.

Another Wenzhou merchant, Wang Weisheng, bought a state-owned TV station in the United Arab Emirates, which started broadcasting in August 2006.

Zhu Hong, spokesman of the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, said in January that the administration encourages and supports qualified large- and medium-sized State-owned enterprises and private and other social capital to invest in overseas media.

"Private investment faces less barriers to enter overseas media markets, due to owner-ship structure and flexibility," said Cai Ling, a culture industry analyst at Shenzhen Zhongzhe Investment Consulting. "But it may face potential operational risks."

Source: Global Times

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