Media and Advertising

China 'bans' or clamps down on foreign investment in media

China's cultural industry can say no, and it can also say maybe

New rules restricting foreign investment in cultural products and media in China were issued this week by five different government bodies including the Publicity aka Propaganda Department, and the State Administration of Radio Film and TV.

Danwei reader Thomas McGrenery sent in some comments about a story on this subject in the International Herald Tribune (link below):

Salient quotes:

""In principle, there will be no more domestic approvals for foreign satellite television channels", the rules also state."

"[P]artly spurred by the promotion of a new boss at the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television".

As pointed out in the article, this will probably loosen up again in about a year or so after the new guy has stopped proving he's boss, Hollywood producer style.

Don't know where this leaves the BBC's previously touted mainland channel. That wasn't necessarily satellite-based, but it doesn't bode well for them.

There is an interesting angle to the story that the IHT article does not mention:

Xinhua's Chinese language report about the new rules was the lead story on the state-owned news agency's website today, with the headline pictured above, which means 'Cultural industries: some types of foreign investment allowed, some types banned'.

According to the report, the new rules are called 'Suggestions about the amount of foreign investment in cultural industries' (关于文化领域引进外资的若干意见). In other words, the 'rules' are not laws. They are not even regulations..

Of course, when you are SARFT or the Propaganda Department, you don't need laws to do whatever the hell you want especially if it involves shutting down a foreign-invested media business, but the use of the word 'suggestions' displays a clear lack of commitment to these rules.

That may be because CCTV will be bankrupted after constructing its new Rem Koolhaas designed headquarters, in which case foreign investment might suddenly seem attractive again.

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