A state media group was launched Thursday, bringing together the country's top broadcasting, film and TV enterprises in a bid to meet the greater competition that will come with the country's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The new media giant, named the China Radio, Film and Television Group (CRFTG), puts together the country's flagship TV channel -- China Central Television (CCTV), two state radio stations -- China National Radio (CNR) and China Radio International (CRI) and some state film and network organs, with its fixed assets totalling 21.4 billion yuan (US$2.6 billion), expects annual revenues to exceed 11 billion yuan (US$1.3 billion), and to have more than 20,000 employees.
Xu Guangchun, Director General of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) -- one of the country's top media authorities -- noted at the launching ceremony that the merger, ratified by the central government, is a key step forward for the country's state media to survive international competition.
"We want to establish our media 'aircraft' or 'combined fleet' to cope with foreign media giants," said Xu, an indication of the pressure the central media feel, as well as their ambition, as the country joins the WTO.
According to Xu, China's television and film companies are "too scattered and weak" and therefore "need to join forces to become more competitive."
Zhang Haitao, one of the top leaders of CRFTG, revealed that the new group plans to spend three years to further reform the original mechanism including a two-year assets reshuffle.
According to Zhang, the new group will further strengthen its co-operation with some other domestic and foreign media over the following years to provide better service to its "billions of audience" and to let "the voice of China" be more widely heard throughout the world.
China's broadcasting service covers 92 percent of the county's territory and TV programmes' coverage reaches 93 percent, and has over 90 million of cable television users, according to last year's official statistics.
The annual revenue of the country's broadcasting, television and film industry amounted to some 43 billion yuan (US$5.2 billion) last year.
Meanwhile, hundreds of regional cable TV networks and even numerous local radio stations exist throughout the country.
(China Daily December 7, 2001)