China is taking centre stage in the world
This was the consensus of top executives
from the world's largest music companies, television production
houses and Internet content providers who participated yesterday
in the 4th China Daily CEO Roundtable (CDRT) themed "Entertaining
the Nation" in Hong Kong.
Although they griped about lack of protection
for intellectual property rights and the slow pace of market
liberalization, the Roundtable agreed that the potential
of the China market was almost limitless. And the biggest
show of them all is going to be the 2008 Beijing Olympic,
said Stephen Marcopoto, president and managing director
of Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific Inc.
In his opening remarks, Marcopoto said
China's media and entertainment industry, though it currently
accounted for less than 2 per cent of the country's GDP,
is set to grow to a dramatic scale in the coming years.
Marcopoto oversees all programming, network, development,
advertising and distribution sales, marketing and promotion
for Turner Broadcasting and its networks and Internet services,
including the CNN news group, Cartoon Network, TCM and CETV
in the Asia Pacific region.
Citing a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers,
Marcopoto said the overall size of the global entertainment
and media industry will grow from US$229 billion in 2004
to US$365 billion in 2008. The average 9.8 per cent annual
growth rate is mainly driven by China and by the country's
heavy investment in both communications and media infrastructure.
More specifically, the entertainment industry
will see robust expansion across-the-board. China's Internet
and broadband sector, for instance, had about 75 million
Internet users and it is projected to soar to 260 million
by 2008, which is roughly the size of the entire US population
and among which are 75 million broadband users.
Satellite services, buoyed by new technology,
are projected to more than double their current base of
30 million users in the next four years. Digital TV, booming
in major Chinese cities, will have 30 million subscribers
by 2008. Theme parks and video gaming, in vogue for the
new generation, are also expected to undergo similar expansion
in the near future.
Charles Chau Suk Poon, managing director
of MTV Networks (North Asia), echoed these sentiments and
pointed out that "although the media sector is still highly
regulated in China, there is no signs of slowdown in our
He said the country's media and entertainment
market is estimated at US$18 billion in value in 2004, which
represents about 1.5 to 2 per cent of China's more than
US$1 trillion GDP. Of that, US$6 billion is related to media
advertising, US$2.5 billion of which is TV advertising;
and the remaining US$12 billion goes to direct consumer
media and entertainment such as CDs and VCDs.
"Although China's overall economic size
is still not among the largest in the world, with that size
of market, it's not a small business for us at all," Chau
says, adding the entertainment industry was actually acting
as a creative economy.
As the company manages its business in
Asia-Pacific area, the highest growth market is definitely
China, Chau says. Using the company's experience for example,
Chau says that MTV Networks, which entered China's market
in 1996, have grown from one representative office to a
100-staff company with three major offices in Beijing, Shanghai
The company now has five TV programmes
syndicated throughout China, including a 24-hour MTV programme
in all foreign compounds and hotels.
Its revenue growth has maintained high
double-digit annual growth for the past seven years, and
is not showing any signs of growth slowing. Chau said that
the company's revenue would be in the US$ eight-digit zone
in 2005 and will become profitable early next year.
By Jian Er