World Media Summit

China's Success Determined by Internet, Warns Rupert Murdoch

Beijing Should Control Piracy, Foster Creativity, and Develop Content for New Media Customers, Says News Corp. Chairman

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Below is an excerpt of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch's speech at the World Media Summit in Beijing on Oct. 9, 2009.

BEIJING (AdAgeChina.com) -- Modern China has a tremendous stake in a shared digital future, because its own wealth and success will depend on how well it responds to the challenges, nationally and internationally. These changes are touching almost every part of society.

Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch
Chinese media and entertainment companies have a remarkable opportunity to expand their international influence and revenues. That possibility was recognized in recent days by the Chinese government, which envisions the development of media champions able to compete on the world stage.

I genuinely look forward to that competition, but I fear the ability of creative companies to prosper globally could be undermined by a lack of intellectual property protection domestically.

There are impressive media companies emerging in China, but piracy will make it difficult for them to generate the profits at home that would fuel growth abroad.

There is a second problem for these potentially influential Chinese companies. They operate in a market that is sheltered and so they are not exposed to the competition that would prepare them for the rigors of the global marketplace. The Chinese market is certainly large, as the number of cell phones far exceeds the entire population of the U.S. and reflects how markets can work to the benefit of a country's citizens.

Two decades ago, there was a long wait for a fixed line in China and it was the well-connected who got connected. Now, a phone is not a perk for the privileged few but a necessity for the lao bai xing, the old one hundred names, that is, the common man and woman.

The more affluent these new customers become, the more they will demand from all of their media. The majority of that content will be domestically driven, but its quality will, in part, be determined by whether Chinese companies are prompted, through competition, to improve their products.

The more competition to provide Chinese individuals and institutions with financial news, the more informed their investment decisions will be.

China will ultimately decide its own fate, but unless the digital door is opened, opportunities will be lost and potential will not be realized.

"Unless the digital door is opened, opportunities will be lost."
There is real reason for confidence in the ability of Chinese companies to compete if that door is opened. Everywhere I go in China, I talk to someone starting up a new enterprise, going to school to gain the advanced knowledge he or she needs to succeed, or building a better life for his or her family. The optimism I see is striking especially in contrast to the pessimism echoing around other parts of the world.

My industry depends on that creativity to thrive. And this new generation of highly educated and talented Chinese will change the media market in two ways: as demanding consumers, and as talented producers, both of which will blossom, given the chance and given choice.


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