China knows Chua


The Chuas with a group of Chinese TV officials 1979.
Robert Chua realised before many others in the broadcasting industry that China was the world’s most promising big media and communications market. When he first visited China on business in 1979, television was still at a very basic stage, with groups of people gathering to watch black and white broadcasts on communal sets. Prior to his first trip to China in early 1979 Mr Chua clinched a historic deal, becoming exclusive overseas agent for advertising time on television in Guangdong, China’s richest province adjacent to Hong Kong.

His biggest China challenge was undoubtedly establishing the Chinese language CETV family channel in 1994. But the connection with China goes back much further. Among other things, Robert Chua was the first exporter of video and pinball machines to China, installing them in hotels.

What I’m doing (with CETV) is really Government-friendly. I’ve been in China since 1979 – I understand the cultural sensitivity.
Robert Chua, Asian Business magazine, 1996
Soon after leaving TVB and setting up Robert Chua Productions in the mid 1970s, Robert approached the pro-Peking newspaper Wen Wei Pao to broker a deal to advertise in China on behalf of Hong Kong based clients.

In 1979, RCP became the first media company to sell foreign TV advertising directly into China, securing exclusive deals with TV stations in Guangdong, Sichuan and Henan provinces. RCP landed an advertising deal with Citizen Watch on Beijing’s China Central Television and a sports program sponsorship deal for Seiko in Guangdong.

In a high profile deal for Hong Kong travellers, Robert introduced the first closed circuit TV on trains running between Hong Kong and mainland China in his capacity as consultant to the Chinese Railway Authority.

In 1981, Robert Chua distributed China’s first hospitality magazine produced outside the country – a cooperative venture with the main Hong Kong English language newspaper, the South China Morning Post.

The same year, he created and distributed a series of English learning programs in China. In all, there were 26 half hour episodes produced under the title `ABC .’ Hosted by Mr Chua’s wife Peggy, the series proved highly successful and was rescreened in many parts of the country.

A 1994 Speech to Parliament by Singapore Minister for Information and the Arts, Brigadier General George YeoIn 1982, with the push to trade with China in full swing, Robert Chua produced a series of China export promotion videos distributed free to Chinese embassies around the world. The video was intended to familiarise foreign companies with the methods of doing business with China, and at the same time promote specific Chinese goods.

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