Malaysia’s Astro, TVB Hong Kong to build Chinese Net portal

Posted on November 16, 1999 
Filed Under Julian, Newsbytes

By Julian Matthews

KUALA LUMPUR–Measat Broadcast Network Systems (MBNS), the operator of Malaysia’s only satellite pay-TV service Astro, and Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts Ltd (TVB), have set up a joint venture to launch a Chinese-language Internet portal service.

MBNS said it will invest US$30 million for a 30 percent stake in the new company TVB.COM Ltd, which will be incorporated in Hong Kong. Further investment from TVB and external funding is expected to be announced later.

Targeted at global Chinese-speaking Web users, TVB refused to release more details of the new service other than the fact it will complement TVB’s entertainment and lifestyle content offerings.

It is known, however, that MBNS has been actively pursuing plans to offer high speed Internet access to its users and the new joint venture may include video and audio streaming, stock trading, home banking and distance learning applications in the future.

The portal will be launched by the first half of next year, and the new company will employ a staff of about 200 people.

The companies said the establishment of TVB.COM was still subject to approval from TVB shareholders and the Hong Kong Broadcast Authority.

MBNS has been operating the Astro satellite-delivered direct-to-U (dtU) broadcast services under exclusive license by the Malaysian government since 1996. It has over 200,000 subscribers and operates over 30 digital television and radio channels.

TVB is the world’s largest producer of Chinese-language television content based on hours produced and is ranked among the top five television producers in the world.

TVB and its subsidiaries have been providing programming and channel management services for Astro’s two Chinese channels–Wah Lai Toi, a 24-hour Cantonese channel, and Asian Entertainment Channel (AEC) which carries Mandarin programs supplied by TVBS, Taiwan’s No.1 cable channel.

Published in Newsbytes, Nov 16, 1999

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