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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, October 23, 2017

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Taiwan`s TV industry looking to make inroads into China

Cable channel TVBS

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TAIPEI : Taiwan's television industry is one of the most vibrant in Asia.

But the island's market is too small for those with big plans. Thus, many are looking to make inroads into China. 

A new hit show on tudou.com marked the start of the Chinese video-sharing website's partnership with Taiwan cable channel TVBS.

The collaboration is the first of its kind across the Taiwan Strait. And TVBS thinks this is the future of Taiwan's television industry. 

Young Ming, general manager of TVBS, said: "Taiwan's television production is facing a bottleneck due to its limited market size. So we must expand overseas for a better future. China is clearly the biggest market for Chinese-language content." 

TVBS chose to team up with tudou.com not just for its hundreds of millions of viewers, but also because it believes social media will give the channel greater freedom and flexibility in reaching the Chinese audience.

The cable channel also feels its content will enrich the website.

Mr Young Ming said: "China's television production is growing rapidly. But Taiwan is still ahead in the industry, especially in creativity and talent. "

Other Taiwanese channels are also eyeing the China market.

But political orientation can make or break a deal.

A popular talk show host, known for his pro-independence views, recently resigned from Taiwan's SET TV.

Local media reported that Cheng Hung-Yi was under pressure to quit in order to make way for SET's entry into China.

Chen Ching Ho, dean of the College of Journalism and Communications at Shih Hsin University, said: "SET has many self-produced programmes. It cannot rely solely on overseas markets like Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea. 

"It will need to expand into China where its programmes will have much higher demand because of the same language and culture."

Mr Cheng's resignation has raised concerns about China's influence on the island's media freedom.

But analysts said closer cross-strait ties in recent years have already changed the island's political dynamics.

Mr Chen said: "After frequent exchanges with China in recent years, many pro-independence supporters started to question whether it is really essential to make a clean break from the mainland. This awareness may start to be reflected in television programmes."

 

The partnership between TVBS and tudou.com marks the beginning of cultural integration across the Taiwan Strait. And in time, the synergy will benefit not only Taiwan and China, but the Chinese-speaking population around the world.

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