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Satellite operator launched
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China Direct Broadcast Satellite Co Ltd (China DBSAT), the only satellite operator on the mainland, was inaugurated yesterday, marking the nation's effort to reshuffle its satellite services sector.


"China DBSAT is now the second largest operator in Asia in terms of satellite numbers," said Cheng Guangren, chairman of the Beijing-based company. "We will make hefty investments in the next five years to strengthen our infrastructure."


China Satellite Communications Corp and Sino Satellite Communications Co Ltd, two major domestic satellite operators, have injected their satellite-related operations into China DBSAT, making it the only satellite operator on the mainland.


China DBSAT now has total assets of 7 billion yuan and operates four satellites including SinoSat 1 and SinoSat3. The company's main business area is direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services, but it also provides services in satellite Internet access and telecommunications.


DBS service refers to satellite systems through which subscribers receive signals for television, radio and telecommunications directly from geostationary satellites.


China DBSAT now transmits programs for 169 TV and 40 radio stations. The company's total revenue is expected to reach 800 million yuan in 2008, with about one-tenth contributed by overseas clients.


"Our ability to provide DBS services will be enhanced once ChinaSat 9 is put into operation next year," said Cheng.


China launched SinoSat 2 last October to establish its first DBS system. But the satellite failed to work because of problems with its solar power panels. Scientists are studying ways to resolve the problem.


ChinaSat 9 is also part of China's DBS system, which will be able to transmit signals covering 98 percent of the nation's territory. It's capable of transmitting up to 200 radio and TV channels to users throughout China, including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.


The DBS system is expected to boost the development of China's satellite TV market. Chinese cable TV subscribers have reached 140 million. In contrast, about 300 million households still receive wireless TV signals and some regions receive no signals, according to a report from a publication owned by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, the broadcast regulator.


According to the report, over 15 million households in China are expected to adopt satellite TV services by 2010.


(China Daily December 26, 2007)

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