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Tuning In The Global Village : Powerful Signals: A Look at Four Global Media Moguls : RICHARD LI

October 20, 1992| Li is deputy chairman of Hong Kong's Star TV and the son of the colony's richest man. His father, Li Ka-shing, heads the parent Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. financial empire, which operates five core businesses: real estate, container terminals, telecommunications, energy and retail. Sent to the United States to study at age 14, the younger Li says the experience shaped his attitudes about satellite television: and

By living abroad, I found that there is much more commonality than differences amongst people in this world. I believe satellite television helps people to see such similarities. I think it is very beneficial socially for people to understand this. . . .

Asia is the developing television market. . . . We are giving our viewers five channels, including BBC World Service Television, MTV, a Mandarin-language entertainment channel, an English-language entertainment channel and a sports channel. . . . The total number of viewing households we have right now outside of the People's Republic of China is 5 million homes, of which 3.7 million are validated by an independent market research company. . . . Every day is exciting because there's bound to be something happening in at least one of the 38 countries that we are covering. . . .

We had two choices at the start of our operation in 1990: One, we could produce Asian programs with Western programming standards; or two, we could import Western programming and co-produce programs. We wanted a fast track for our business (so) we had to choose the latter. . . . It would take many, many years to produce any mainstream theatrical or television production that is exportable. But it is not out of the question. . . . I hope to bridge the gap by bringing in more expertise from the West, mixed with entrepreneurial skills from Asia. . . .

I think we're giving Ted Turner a good run. . . . If you look at satellite television in Asia, the only program that is ahead of us is CNN. They have been here for five years, while we've only been in operation for one year. But . . . we are covering at least four times the households (in Asia). . . . By the end of this year, we will have received close to $147 million in advertising; half of our advertisers are Japanese.

Advertisements are most effective in Taiwan. For example, one in three households in Taiwan is a Star TV home, and one-third of these households are in the top 25% income bracket with the highest disposable income. . . .

I believe that the economic relationship between China and Hong Kong is very strong. . . . When there are differences, they'll work out their differences because they are interdependent. . . . I believe I'm realistic about the future of Hong Kong post-1997 (when China is to resume control of it).

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