CHINA / National

China Unicom, Warner Music ally on music offer
By Echo Shan (
Updated: 2006-06-21 09:45

China Unicom's 130 million customers are now entitled to a range of ring tones and voice greetings by Warner artists from Madonna to Stephanie Sun.

US-based Warner Music Group has got a slice of the Chinese digital music busines estimated worth 3.6 billion yuan by clinching a distribution deal with China Unicom Ltd., the country's second-largest mobile phone operator, to sell its music over the wireless network.

Convened over piracy, Warner Music had long been keen to find a partner who had a similar incentive to ensure that the music was distributed safely and legitimately.

It was the first major record company to establish a full affiliate in China in 2000, said Warner Music.

Studded with world-famous artists including Madonna, Green Day and Sean Paul, the company would take an indigenous road, focusing on local Asia Pacific artists including Stephanie Sun, Tanya Chua, Wang Jing and Paul Wong.

The Chinese digital music business was reported to be worth 3.6 billion yuan ($450 million) in 2005, according to the Chinese Audio-Video Association (CAVA), which predicts the industry will grow to 12.7 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in 2010.

This latest deal comes on the heels of other recent digital business deals by Warner Music in the Asia Pacific region.

Last month, Warner Music International said it established a joint venture with SK Telecom, South Korea's leading broadband and wireless provider.

In early June, Warner Music Japan said it had acquired a minority stake in FrontMedia, a leading mobile broadcasting company and developer of wireless technology.