Hong Kong Veteran Hong Kong entrepreneur Robert
Chua's China Entertainment TV (CETV) has become only the second overseas channel to gain
24-hour carriage on a Chinese cable-TV system. Guangdong Cable TV, which has an estimated
500,000 subscribers in and around the southern Chinese province, has transmitted CETV
since the middle of the month.
The operator has carried the Star TV Chinese entertainment
service Phoenix Channel since July 1997, although technically no Chinese TV provider is
allowed to continuously transmit foreign-originated networks on a 24-hour basis. The only
exceptions are channels seen in upmarket hotels, government offices and compounds housing
foreigners working and living in China.
It is not clear how CETV managed to sidestep mainland
regulations. Chua, who founded the channel in 1994, could not be reached for comment.
The carriage is a major boost for the Mandarin-language
service. Since an October 1997 deal he signed with five mainland companies to take a
majority stake in CETV collapsed, Chua has been fighting to keep the embattled channel in
He slashed the workforce from more than 120 to the current
total of around 40 as he and his wife, Peggy, led on-air appeals to viewers to send in
An unnamed mainland investor reportedly channeled funds to
CETV over the summer. Chua is speculated to be looking for a new injection of capital for
CETV, using its new-found slot on Guangdong Cable TV as an incentive to would-be