TVB cuts 7% of work force

Layoffs to eliminate more than 200 staffers

In what Television Broadcasts Ltd (TVB) general manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan termed a "painful decision," the Hong Kong broadcaster on Monday announced a 7% reduction in its workforce, local media reported.

The move will eliminate 200 staffers across "all departments and levels," Chan said in a widely reported statement, with the production department expected to be hit hardest.

TVB is attributing the layoffs -- which had been predicted since November, when Hong Kong-based Asia Television laid off 63 employees -- to the current global financial crisis.

Chan told local media outlets that the company will attempt to bring back some of the laid off employees when the economy recovers.

The territory's leading broadcaster has been in trouble since May when Shaw Brothers Ltd. began to try to sell its controlling stake in TVB, valued at around HK$10 billion ($1.29 billion).

By mid-October, Shaw had found no buyer and called off the sale citing the "present tumultuous situation in the financial markets."