More than a dozen private equity funds including one backed by China Construction Bank (601939.SS) (0939.HK), are raising local currency yuan-denominated funds, likely worth over billions of dollars, to invest in China's media sector.
Here are some key facts about China's media industry:
-- The size of China's media industry doubled in the five years to 2008, and was worth an estimated 422 billion yuan ($61.82 billion) in that year.
Beijing keeps a tight rein over what can be published or broadcast, and frequently punishes editors, journalists or entire newspapers or television stations if they run stories the government does not like.
-- China had 1,943 newspaper titles, 224 of which were circulated nationwide. A total of 44.3 billion newspapers were issued in 2008. They range from the staid, like the Communist Party-published Guangming Daily, to ones which try to push the envelope, including the Southern Weekend.
-- Chinese newspapers' advertising and circulation incomes were 34 billion yuan and 23 billion yuan, respectively, in 2008.
-- 25 Chinese newspapers were included in the World Association of Newspaper's list of the globe's 100 largest newspapers. Cankao Xiaoxi, a newspaper mainly publishing translations of foreign news articles and run by the official Xinhua News Agency, ranked fifth in the list with the largest circulation of a Chinese newspaper, at 3.18 million per issue.
-- The People's Daily, the ruling Communist Party's main mouthpiece, came in ninth place in the world and second in China, with a circulation of 2.81 million per issue.
-- While many newspapers are published by city governments or industry bodies, there are also 39 newspaper groups, which ran a total of 271 newspapers by 2008.
-- China had 9,549 magazine titles by the end of 2008. A total of 310.5 million magazines were issued in 2008.
-- Fortnightly Review, a Xinhua-run news and commentary magazine, had the biggest circulation in China with 4.5 million copies sold per issue in 2008.
-- Chinese magazines' advertising and circulation incomes were 3.1 billion yuan and 16.7 billion yuan, respectively, in 2008.
-- Most Chinese provinces, cities and even counties have their own television stations. The total number is believed to be more than 2,000. Some also broadcast in regional languages like Tibetan, Uighur and Mongolian, as well as Mandarin.
-- Advertising income for Chinese television stations was 50 billion yuan in 2008, including 16 billion yuan for CCTV, the country's main state broadcaster.
-- The revenue for cable networks' subscription fees in China was 33.4 billion yuan in 2008.
Sources: General Administration of Press and Publication of China, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, World Association of Newspapers.
(Compiled by Yu Le and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Ben Blanchard and Muralikumar Anantharaman)