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Hong Kong hits new note as Asian broadcasting hub


The following press release (English only) was jointly issued by CASBAA and Invest Hong Kong.

To reaffirm its commitment to developing Hong Kong as a regional broadcasting centre, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government is sponsoring this year's Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) annual convention, CASBAA 2001.

Hong Kong's Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting, Mrs Carrie Yau, will officiate at the opening of CASBAA 2001 on November 28 in Hong Kong.

Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), the Hong Kong SAR government agency that seeks to attract inward investment, views the sponsorship as a major step to increase cable and satellite TV production and broadcasting operations and the number of related companies siting their regional headquarters here.

CASBAA's chief executive, Mr Simon Twiston Davies, confirmed that InvestHK's Director-General, Mr Mike Rowse, had agreed to "a significant sponsorship deal" for CASBAA 2001 - which will be held at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from November 28 to 30. The event will feature messages from senior Hong Kong Government officials who are expected to aggressively reassert the SAR's claims to be "Asia's broadcasting hub".

Mr Twiston Davies commented: "We believe that InvestHK's decision symbolises a new approach for attracting foreign investment in TV broadcasting businesses in Hong Kong. This is a clearly more proactive position. We are delighted."

Mr Rowse said: "Broadcasters have to be served by many related businesses, including multimedia content creation, the advertising industry, telecommunications services, equipment suppliers and the financial and legal service providers. Hong Kong offers the best support and strongest clusters of business services in these areas."

CASBAA estimates there are already 10,000 people employed locally in the pay TV industry. Annual pay TV-related turnover produced by existing players, plus revenue generated by advertising agencies, has exceeded US$1 billion.

"The Hong Kong SAR would like to encourage further development of TV programme production and broadcasting businesses by attracting more companies to set up here, and that's why we sponsor CASBAA 2001," said Mr Rowse.

Currently, there are nine non-domestic pay-TV licence holders in Hong Kong, most recently joined by Pacific Satellite International Limited. Four more applications are being processed. Hong Kong has issued five licences to domestic pay-TV operators and the Hong Kong SAR Government says it welcomes more newcomers into the market.

There is news that two Hong Kong-based TV broadcasting services, China Entertainment TV, owned by AOL Time Warner, and Phoenix Channel, in which News Corp has invested, had reached and intend to reach landmark agreements respectively with China's State Administration for Radio, Film and Television to be carried on cable TV systems in neighbouring Guangdong Province. This underlines the SAR's strategic position for companies penetrating the China market as it further opens up upon accession to WTO, Mr Rowse said.

"Taiwan, Japan and particularly South Korea are also flourishing pay TV markets, and Hong Kong is ideally situated to do business with all of them. The benefits for companies to base their regional headquarters in Hong Kong are considerable," Mr Rowse added.

CASBAA's president and president of Singapore-based MTV Asia, Mr Frank Brown said: "We warmly welcome InvestHK's sponsorship, and the SAR's new commitment to attract investment from this industry. Any incentives and tools that they can provide will only benefit the TV broadcasting sector as a whole."

The CASBAA 2001 Convention will feature special conference sessions dedicated to the China and Hong Kong markets as well as examining such hot topics as the next generations of communications technology from the Chairman of Boeing Space and the President of RealNetworks, the impact of intellectual property piracy across Asia and the participation as panelists by the regional leaders of MTV, Turner Broadcasting, AsiaSat, IBM, Playboy TV, Goldman Sachs Media & Entertainment, Liberate Technologies and Open TV.

For more information please contact:

Mr Simon Twiston Davies of CASBAA at 852 2854 9913 or email

Mrs Angela Wong of InvestHK at 852 2918 7555 or email

End/Wednesday, October 31, 2001


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