SMG subsidiaries join to create Chinese Internet, TV giant
Rebecca Hawkes
| 25 November 2014
Shanghai Media Group (SMG) is to merge its digital media arm BesTV, Microsoft's Chinese partner, with its Shanghai Oriental Pearl division to create a huge new Internet and broadcasting company.

Part of its extensive restructuring plan, the Chinese media giant SMG will have a 45.07% stake in what is expected to become the largest Chinese online media group. It will be called the Shanghai Oriental Pearl New Media Company, according to a BesTV statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

BesTV already covers more than 20 provinces and cities in Mainland China and South East Asia with a new media business portfolio including IPTV, Internet TV, smart TV, over-the-top (OTT) video and mobile TV.

Its parent SMG merged with Shanghai Media & Entertainment Group, Radio and Television Shanghai in March 2014, becoming China's largest provincial media group with more than US$7 billion in assets.

It now wants to expand overseas, with offices planned in Silicon Valley to develop Internet technology and adapt it for the Chinese market.
"SMG will have a series of global cooperation and exploration ventures. Our ambition is not limited to the group's restructuring but also about building a new image for Chinese media," Li Ruigang, head of SMG, told the magazine Caixin of which he is also chairman.

The news comes after Disney's recent announcement of a deepening of ties with SMG, including the establishment of a joint venture with BesTV.