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Media Titan Comes to China
A major goal of Viacom's work in China is to help export Chinese culture to the rest of the world, said Sumner Redstone, chairman and chief executive officer of Viacom Inc, yesterday in Beijing.

"We are not cultural imperialists," Redstone said at a news conference during the "Media Industry in the 21st Century" Conference, which was held by Viacom and China Media Group (CMG).

Viacom Inc is one of the biggest media groups in the world, and it ranked 85th among the Fortune magazine's top 500 companies last year. One of its successes is the Music Television (MTV) channel.

It is Viacom's usual practice to work with local production companies, and Viacom tries to make sure that the products it makes reflect the taste of the Chinese people, he said.

The chairman continued to say that his company is playing the role of a "cultural ambassador" to China.

Viacom's aim is to bring Chinese culture to the United States and the rest of the world while expanding its presence in China, he said.

He hoped that the interchanges between Viacom and the government and people of China will be enhanced through activities such as the conference.

More than 200 media professionals and government officials attended the conference, which is CMG's first cooperation with a well-known foreign media company.

"We need more exchanges and cooperation between us," said Xu Guangchun, Minister of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television as well as Chairman of CMG's Board of Management, in his speech at the conference.

As the largest media group in China, CMG shoulders important tasks and responsibilities and will keep its leading role in China, Xu said.

Meanwhile, the group is planning to build itself into a transnational conglomerate media group so that it can be one of the leading media groups in the world within five years, he said.

Redstone said China is now at the very beginning stage in developing its media industry.

This means that the opportunities for the media industry in China are greater than in the United States, where the media industry is quite mature now, he said.

He added that his company is ready to share its experience with the Chinese Government and hopes to contribute to the enhancement of the media industry in China.

According to Xu, China's radio and TV programs cover 93 percent and 94 percent of its total population respectively.

There are 1,777 radio programs and 1,232 TV programs in China, with more than 70 radio and 43 TV programs being broadcast by satellites.

Statistics show that the influence and coverage of radio, film and TV on the general audience in China are much greater than that of other media.

(China Daily July 30, 2002)

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