China Yearns to Form Its Own Media Empires

The New York Times reports on a new plan by the State Council to create media empires that can compete with Time Warner, News Corp and other global behemoths:

An ambitious plan, set forth in guidelines last week by China’s State Council, envisions the creation of entertainment, news and culture companies with a market orientation and with less government backing. China, in short, would like to consolidate its industry into companies resembling Bloomberg, Time Warner and Viacom, analysts say.

“There appears to be a feeling at the highest levels of government that they need a media machine commensurate to the rising status and power of China,” says Jim Laurie, a former ABC News correspondent who teaches at Hong Kong University and recently met with Chinese state broadcasting executives.

Beijing hopes the moves will even improve the nation’s image overseas — part of a longstanding effort to use “soft power,” rather than military might to win friends abroad.