Television

China restricts foreign stake in TV, film production Cos

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MUMBAI: China has adopted a policy in disallowing the creation of new joint venture companies dealing with television and film production.

The decision sets aside rules issued in 2004 that allowed foreigners to take minority stakes in local production companies.The country is suggesting international media companies to work instead through individual projects with local partners.

Such a move would be a blow to foreign media companies that are eager to tap a Chinese market with 400 million increasingly affluent TV viewers and booming video sales.

State Administration Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) director Zhu Hong said, "Our policy is to temporarily not approve the creation of new joint companies. People can jointly invest in filming individual movies and individual television dramas, but we are not going to approve the creation of program production companies."

Beijing has tightened curbs on foreign media involvement over the past two years, both to protect Chinese companies from competition and to maintain the communist government's control over what the public sees and hears. Regulators also have restricted use of foreign programming on Chinese television.

"The agency isn't considering expanding the limited rights granted to a handful of foreign television channels to broadcast in China," Zhu added.

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