The Full Story
Robert (left) in a TV show honouring comedian Cheng Kwan-Meng, 1997In financial terms, CETV was something of a black hole for the Chuas, who had invested millions of dollars of their own money up to June 2000. They originally held a 20 per cent stake in CETV, with private investors holding the remainder.
There have been other private investors involved in CETV, including the Indonesian Lippo Group, the International Family Channel from the US and Malayan United Industries. In November 1995 Mr Chua announced that these partners had agreed to buy 80 per cent of CETV for HK$230 million, but a year later the new partners were eventually bought out by Mr Chua.
By the end of 1997, Mr Chua was anxious to bring some mainland Chinese partners on board. Rupert Murdoch’s Star TV – with its mainland partners – had just been given access to local cable operators in the wealthy Guangdong Province.
TV show crediting Robert as the Producer Singapore, 1967Hong Kong had returned to Chinese sovereignty and there was a big advantage in being seen as a local operation in China, as opposed to a foreign broadcaster beaming in a signal.
In October 1997, Mr Chua announced the deal he had been searching for: a consortium of five mainland companies had agreed to take an 80 per cent stake in CETV. Unfortunately, the five companies did not pay up and the deal collapsed.
The media began declaring the imminent death of CETV, but it was premature. More than two years later, media giant Time Warner became a broadcasting partner in CETV in June 2000.
Robert credits the loyalty of CETV’s many regular viewers with giving him the moral support that brought him and the station through this difficult period.
Newspaper cartoon Counter Attack! Fight Back, 22nd Oct 1978The intense pressure of keeping CETV afloat nearly killed Mr Chua in 1999, when an excess of blood fluid built up in his brain. The broadcasting world very nearly lost one of its most creative talents, but Hong Kong’s top brain surgeon Dr Yu Chung-ping won the day. The fluid was drained, the five holes in his skull sewn up and he moved very quickly onto thinking about his next projects.
The time Mr Chua spent recuperating after his surgery was the first time he had taken off work since his marriage to Peggy in 1974.
Although he has now fully recovered, the experience taught Mr Chua to take time out from whatever projects he has on hand. While recuperating, he realised that in addition to television, the Internet was the future medium for his considerable creative talents.
EYT Reunion, 1994He has registered several thousand domain names and is working on many ideas to develop potentially highly profitable On Line businesses. Robert is seeking to apply his considerable content-development skills to the Internet medium, an example of which is this home page. He is on the look-out for new partners, as always during his career, and is open to selected consulting offers.