Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hong Kong - China Telecom to buy into Phoenix TV for 3G content?

March 21

Hong Kong -- Hong listed, China Mobile is reported to be acquiring some or all of the News Corp's 38 per cent stake in Phoenix Satellite Television, the Chinese language satellite broadcaster.

The news comes at a time, China Mobile is preparing to launch news services on 3G mobile phones in the PRC.

At present, China Mobile is providing value-added services in partnership with its service providers (SPs) and content providers (CPs).

Phoenix has close links to Beijing but is firmly eyed as a Hong Kong enterprise under the "one country, two systems" formula.

If China Mobile (PRC-based) were to invest in Phoenix (Hong Kong based) this would cross the normally uncrossable line in the sensitive area of domestic broadcasting, albeit in 3G content, which is tightly controlled by the propaganda ministries, principally, SARFT.

[I hasten to add the reports of the China Telecom buy-in are hotly denied by all parties. But Phoenix shares listed on Hong Kong are 50 per cent up this year, mostly in recent weeks. Editor]

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