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China rules out overseas investment
( 2002-01-17 10:57 ) (1 )

Chinese regulatory authorities are working on operational rules to guide the fund-raising activities of domestic news media.

It is a major topic of the ongoing national working conference of press and publication directors, which will end on Friday.

"Details are under discussion now and will come out very soon," said an official with the General Administration of Press and Publication, who declined to be identified.

"Hong Kong capital may well receive different treatment from its overseas counterparts in media investment," he revealed.

Calls have been growing recently for earlier market access for Hong Kong investors in the absence of relevant policies.

According to news reports released on Tuesday, the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television said that operations of Chinese press groups will remain State-monopolized and entirely excluded from private and foreign capital.

The door is only open to large State-owned enterprises and institutions after the business operation sections have received authorization to transform into incorporated or shareholding companies.

Yet these investors are still prohibited from holding controlling stakes and are ruled out of making routine management and operational decisions.

Private and overseas capital, along with State capital, will be allowed to invest in the circulation section.

The report, which for the first time formally revealed the opening of Chinese news media to the public, is seen as having special significance.

Yu Guoming, a professor of journalism and media with the Renmin University of China, said the remarks might be a prelude to detailed regulations on the opening of the news media.

Sun Xupei, a professor of journalism and media with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out another possible reason. "Many local governments have been intent on building press groups and introducing a lot of capital, so the State may want to avoid chaos in the operation of news media."

Both experts believed that opening would be a trend in the long run and the enthusiasm to invest in news media would not diminish.



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