Disney China Inks Digital Joint Venture With Shanghai Media Group's BesTV

6:30 AM PST 12/04/2013 by Clifford Coonan

The partnership will combine the two companies' local and international experience and complementary technologies.

The Walt Disney Company China and Shanghai Media Group's BesTV New Media unit have formed a joint venture to combine the two companies' technology and marketing skills to tap into China's booming digital industry and market.

The statement from Disney gave little strategic information away, saying only that the joint venture would combine BesTV's local expertise with Disney's international experience and utilize complementary technologies.

"The China digital landscape and industry is expanding and changing exponentially," said Stanley Cheung, executive vice president and managing director of The Walt Disney Company, Greater China, in a statement.

The partnership hopes to expand families' and kids' digital choices in China.

"This joint venture with BesTV seeks to serve Chinese consumers who are increasingly connected to their viewing experiences across multiple platforms," said Cheung.

The deal, which still requires clearance by regulatory authorities, will see BesTV take 51 percent of the joint venture, while TWDC Shanghai Enterprises, LLC, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, will own 49 percent.

BesTV has 18 million IPTV subscribers with its businesses in China, southeast Asia and eastern Europe.

China is the world's largest Internet market with 591 million users, and in the last year the number of people who surf the Web from smartphones and tablets rose by 20 percent. There is also growing demand for legal content in the online TV and movie market.

"BesTV has formed the largest new media platforms in China, including IPTV, smart phones, mobile TV and online streaming," said Tao Mingcheng, president of BesTV New Media.

"Coupled with Disney's long-standing commitment to digital innovation across multiple platforms, both companies share a common vision to provide an enhanced viewing experience for Chinese audiences and consumers, and explore new business models for digital distributors," said Tao.

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