Southern Metropolitan News, 9/27/11
China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has submitted a new proposal to China's State Council to establish a consolidated national cable TV operator "China Radio and Television Network" as a commercially-oriented state-owned enterprise (SOE) under State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC). The State Council rejected an earlier proposal that the "China Radio and Television Network" be made a government-funded entity ("shiye danwei").
Since mid-2010, a committee headed by SARFT deputy minister Zhang Haitao has pushed for a unified national cable TV network operator, consolidating planning, construction, operation, and management of all China's current cable TV networks, and requested this spring that nearly RMB 1 trln be allocated in the national budget for the completion of the project. Zhang's proposal was rejected on the grounds that it required "an excessively large one-time state investment."
Following this, SARFT submitted a second proposal in which it stipulates that the new "national cable TV network" will be directly administered by SASAC and that completing core construction of the "China Radio and Television Network" will require funding from the central government of just over RMB 10 bln.
SARFT expert Wu Chunyong expressed concern that it will be difficult to launch the new national operator before the end of the year. "If the national broadcaster is an SOE, then employees of local operators, which are government entities, lose both income and status in the consolidation process, creating additional problems."