Broadcast and online media in China

Broadcast in China

Now China has more than 4000 TV stations with the largest population of audience. Each province has a satellite TV channel which can broadcast national wide. People in different places watch the local TV most because it’s more related to their daily life. The northerners and southerners prefer different media content, for example, Cantonese watch Hong Kong TV more often. The biggest media conglomerates are CCTV (China Central Television) and SMEG (Shanghai Media and Entertainment Group).

1. CCTV (中央电视台)

CCTV, China Central Television. It is the state-owned national television of People’s Republic of China, and it plays a crucial role in the Communist Party’s propaganda system. It is one of the most competitive mainstream media in the contemporary China. With dissemination of information, social education, cultural entertainment, information services and many other features, CCTV is not only the main channel for the public to gain information, but also an important window for the Chinese people to learn about the world and for the world citizens to learn about China. Its impact is growing day by day since the opening up of China about 30 years ago. CCTV has 22 channels, including CCTV-1 to -15, each of which has its own specialties, and several foreign language channels. The most watched program on CCTV is its Network News, which is broadcasted from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. seven days a week.

2. Shanghai Media Group (SMG) (上海广电集团)

Shanghai Media Group is owned by Shanghai Media and Entertainment Group, one of the biggest media conglomerates in China. SMG is a multimedia company producing television and radio broadcasting programs, news and other media content.  The company employs around 5000 people and enjoys a market share of 76% during prime time in Shanghai. First founded by the merging of Shanghai People’s Radio Station, East Radio Shanghai, Shanghai Television Station and Oriental Television Station in 2001, now SMG operates 15 TV channels and 11 Radio services. Other businesses include the operation of newspapers, magazines, online media and new media services. The key brands under SMG are Dragon TV, Radio Pop 101,7, and China Business Network.

3. Hunan Satellite TV (湖南卫视)

Hunan TV is a national-broadcast satellite TV channel based in Changsha, featuring on entertainment programs.  Founded in 1997, Hunan TV has grown to a notable brand across China. Its key media products include the variety show Happy Camp, the well-known talent show Super Girl and Super Boy, and the reality show Take Me Out. In 2010, Hunan TV was ranked in the second place in advertising revenue as well as in annual audience rating, just behind CCTV-1. Hunan TV is also characterized by bringing Taiwan and Korean pop culture into China.

4. Jiangsu Satellite TV (江苏卫视)

Jiangsu Satellite Television, launched in 1997, is owned by Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation (JSBC). It is one of the most popular local television stations in China. Propelled by its recent dating show If You Are The One (非诚勿扰), Jiangsu Satellite Television is increasingly gaining its weight in the television landscape in China. The other popular program on Jiangsu Satellite Television is The World (人间), which is a story-telling reality show.

5. Phoenix TV (凤凰卫视)

Phoenix TV is a Hong Kong based satellite TV targets on Mainland China as well as Greater China audience. In China, Phoenix TV enjoys high reputation on broadcast political and financial news as a western-styled, non-propaganda TV station. Phoenix is one of the few privately owned broadcasting companies in China. The most influential channel is the Phoenix News Channel, featuring on news commentary program, investigative program and talk shows. Although Phoenix TV is also subject to the censors, their journalists and programs are considered as more objective, trustable and ‘dare to speak out’.

6. Star Chinese Channel China (星空卫视)

Also known as Xing Kong TV, this TV channel is a Mandarin channel owned by Star TV Group, which is under the News Corporation. Star Chinese Channel is featuring as entertainment channel, broadcasting music, film, and entertainment news programs. Star Chinese Channel now is available in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, and other Asia region like Indonesia and Malaysia, etc. Other channels under the Star TV Group include Star Movie, Channel [V], etc.

7. ATV(亚洲电视有限公司)

Asia Television Limited is one of the two free-to-air television broadcasters in Hong Kong. Launched in 1957, ATV was at first under the name Rediffusion Television, which was the first television station in Hong Kong. It was bought out, renamed, and restructured to “Asia Television Limited” in 1982. The two major channels of Asia Television Limited are ATV Home (本港台), which broadcasts in Cantonese, and ATV World (国际台), which broadcasts in English. Both of them are accessible in Hong Kong, Macau, Guangdong, and some eastern regions in Guangxi in which Cantonese is the local dialect. ATV-produced drama includes Crocodile Tears (鳄鱼泪), Fatherland(大地恩情),The Pride of Chao Zhou (我来自潮州), etc.

8. TVB

Television Broadcasts Limited, also known as TVB, is a free-to-air wireless commercial television station in Hong Kong. It started broadcasting on 19 November 1967. With a staff of about 4,500, it is one of two free-to-air television broadcasters in Hong Kong, competing against Asia Television Ltd (ATV). Similar to ATV, TVB has two flagship channels, TVB Jade (Cantonese) and TVB Pearl (English).

Online media in China

In recent years the popularity of online media has spread like wildfire. With the advent of Web 2.0, which enables anyone to view and create information online, online media has become increasingly widespread in contemporary society. Especially in a country like China where traditional media are mainly state-controlled, the development and widespread of online media offers an alternative platform for people to obtain information, discuss issues, and express their views. Below is a brief introduction to the major online media in the Chinese landscape.

1. Web Portal (新浪) is one of the largest web information portals in China, providing comprehensive online services such as news, email service, search engine and other value-added services like e-commerce, SINA Mobile, interactive community, etc. is designed for Chinese population around the globe and it claims has 94.8 million registered users, among which more than 10 million are active users. Key brands of are Sina Online News, Sina Blog and Sina Weibo (an equivalent to Twitter). (搜狐) is one of the largest web portal that offers a mix of services of search engine service, online community, multi-player gaming, online news, etc. Founded in 1998, now has the biggest youth community ChinaRen, the most influential real estate website, and the biggest online gaming website
Tencent (腾讯)
Tencent, established in 1998, is one of the largest Internet service provider in China. Tencent’s diverse services include social networks, web portals, e-commerce, and multiplayer online games. It operates the well-known instant messenger Tencent QQ and runs one of the largest web portals in China, As of September 30, 2010, there were 636.6 million active Tencent QQ IM user accounts, making Tencent QQ the world’s largest online community. Following Sina’s Twitter-like social media Weibo, Tencent launched a similar website called Tencent Weibo to compete against Sina.
NetEase (网易)
NetEase, is a Chinese Internet company that operates, a popular web portal. The company has grown rapidly since its establishment in 1997, thanks in part to its investment in search engine technology and massively multiplayer online gaming. Along with,, and, these four websites are China’s four largest Internet portals. The major services that NetEase provides are online game, email service, blogs, online forum, news, etc.
2. Online Video Sharing (优酷) is the leading video hosting service in China, an equivalent website to YouTube. Founded in 2006, initially emphasized on user-generated content but later shifted its focus to professionally produced videos licensed from partners. features on allowing users to upload videos irrespective of length. In January 2010, was ranked No.1 in Chinese Internet video sector according to CR-Nielsen. (土豆) is one of the first and leading online video sharing platform in China, on which users can upload, view, share, and download video clips. Established on April 15, 2005, Tudou has become one of the world’s largest content delivery networks. Tudou’s content library includes user-generated videos, premium licensed contents, and in-house developed programming.
3. Online Forum (猫扑) is the second largest online entertainment forum in China, just behind was founded in 1997 and has been the creator of popular Internet slangs and pop culture. What makes stand out is the BT and YY spirit, which means imagination, creative ideas and think sharp with humor but without limits. now has 50 million register users. The well known events include ‘human flesh search’ a girl who posted pictures of cat mutilation; and web celebrity ‘Xiao Pang’, etc.天涯), established in March 1999, is one of the most popular Internet forums in China. The services that Tianya Club provides includes BBS, blog and photo album, etc. It is also one of the most influential online forums in China. With its more than 32 million users, Tianya online forum covers issues related to politics, culture, economic, entertainment, etc. Tianya Club is also famous for its social search, which is also known as the “human flesh search engine”.

About Meng Wang

Meng (Elyse) Wang is a double-degree master student studying Global Media and Communications at University of Southern California and London School of Economics. Meng received her B.A. in Broadcasting Journalism from Fudan University based in Shanghai, China. During 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Meng worked as an intern in Phoenix TV, editing and dubbing daily program. When she was a sophomore, she spent two months living and working in Tibet, made a documentary about the losing culture of Tibetan Wine. Meng had abundant experience of interacting with people from diverse cultures. In 2007 she received full scholarship of a multi-cultural program called The Scholar Ship, beginning her cruise-based trip around the world. In the journey she studied intercultural communication and travelled around the world with 200 other students from more than 35 countries. The ship departed from Hong Kong, went to more than 10 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.
This entry was posted in China Media Handbook. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>