China knows Chua

I think of television as a service to society.
Robert Chua explaining the challenge of creating content for CETV while sticking to his `No Sex, No Violence, No News’ formula.
Two years later, Robert Chua became one of the first distributors of foreign TV programs in China, handling product from Lorimar, Metromedia and Silverbach Lazarus. By this time, his achievements in China were gaining recognition at the highest level. An official Communist Party newsletter, the `Information Reference’ with a daily circulation of 12 million copies lauded Mr Chua in a prominent article, describing him as a “TV Whiz Kid.’

Robert was also very successful as a China trader. With his keen eye for quality Chinese products, he identified traditionally prepared black silk as a product which would prove popular in foreign markets.

Robert Chua is a visionary with an itch – and he somehow always finds a profitable way to scratch it.
Singapore’s New Nation newspaper, 1982
Robert ranks as one of his major moves in China the decision to visit China just one month after the Tiananmen Square incident. Global sentiment was running very high against the Chinese administration after June 4, 1989, but Chua flew up to Shanghai at the invitation of the Shanghai Ministry of Radio and Television, becoming the first media operator to visit following the incident.

Robert Chua’s achievements in China are many, but there is one that stands out far above the rest for its audacity: the creation of China Entertainment Television Broadcast (CETV.) A Chinese language family entertainment channel beamed by satellite into China and around Asia, CETV has often been described by Robert Chua as the “No Sex, No Violence, No News” channel.


Robert and Peggy Chua,1998
A unique, 100 day countdown to the official launch began on December 1, 1994 and in 1995 CETV began full broadcasting in Mandarin language to audiences around Asia. In its first year of operations, CETV became the first satellite TV channel outside of China to jointly produce a live New Year variety show with a mainland province, Shandong, followed by other proviences.

To the critics who added “No Viewers and No Revenues,” to his description of CETV, Robert concedes that revenue has not reached earlier projections but he insists the viewers are there. He insists CETV has built up a loyal following among Asian viewers, including some 33 million households in China which could access the channel’s signal.

However, advertising revenue proved much harder to generate because of competition from other channels and a lack of hard data on viewership, something which affects all China broadcasters.

Robert Chua on the chances of success for CETV, International Herald Tribune 1994.CETV has been a labour of great love for Robert and his wife Peggy. They invested millions of US dollars of their own money in the project, along with other private shareholders. Several past attempts to recapitalise the company failed, but media giant Time Warner became a broadcasting partner in CETV in June 2000. Although the full financial details of the deal have not been made public, Robert remains a shareholder and chairman and will continue to be responsible for the on-air programme content.

In 1997 in recognition of his contribution to China TV industry, Robert Chua was appointed guest professor of News and Media Studies at China’s Nanjing University.

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