Australia’s Public Broadcaster Launches China-based Web Portal

Shanghai Skyline H 2014

The ABC site carries a range of Mandarin and English language stories and programming aimed at mainland Chinese.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) says its become the first western media group to operate a Chinese registered web portal after it launched on Wednesday in Shanghai, offering a mixture of Australian content aimed at a mainland Chinese audience as well as Chinese living in Australia.

The portal carries Chinese language stories about Australia covering business, education and travel as well as a selection of ABC English language programs including documentary, drama and children's fare.

The service is run in partnership with the Shanghai Media Group, and follows the signing of a free trade agreement between the two nations last year. It also follows the closure of the long running Australia Network pan Asian satellite TV service, on September 2014, after the current conservative government scrapped the service’s funding.

ABC International chief executive officer Lynley Marshall said “gives the nation an important new gateway through which to connect to millions of Chinese.  We now have the ability to engage directly with our Chinese audiences from within China supported by our valued Chinese partners.”

President of the Shanghai Media Group, Madame Wang Jianjun, also welcomed the launch.

"The ABC and the Shanghai Media Group have been long term international partners and we have over the past run TV weeks for each other for many years, and we are making progress on other aspects in our partnership,” Madame Wang said. “ We warmly congratulate them on this new achievement they have made.”

With an eye on the  soft diplomacy benefits of the new service, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott added: “the potential for Australia's relationship with China to grow and prosper has never been greater and the launch tonight is a testament to the high degree of respect for Australia and for the ABC within China.”   

Content on the site includes  a focus on Australian lifestyle, travel, studying and doing business in Australia, career opportunities, financial, business and sports news. Australian culture is showcased through programs and stories on ABC International’s partners such as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Ballet. The site also will also carry the world premiere of the Bobbie the Bear live action kids series – featuring a lavender bear from Bridestowe Estate, Tasmania that’s caused a sensation across China.

ABC International signed an extended international media agreement with the Shanghai Media Group (SMG), in June last year and currently has 16 syndication and co-production partnerships with  Chinese TV, radio and online organizations including CCTV, Beijing TV, China Daily Online, Tencent QQ,  Sina and Youku.