SOHU.COM is China's premier online brand and indispensable to the daily life of millions of Chinese who use the portal for their e-mail, SMS messaging, news, search, browsing and shopping. As China's most comprehensive web site, SOHU offers its users the broadest possible choices regarding information, commerce and community, and, equally important, how they access these products and services. Through its pioneering roll-out of wireless products since 2000, SOHU has become a frontrunner in making the Internet ubiquitously available, whether in the office, at home or on the road.
The web site's massive use base and strong brand presence in China make SOHU.COM, a household name throughout the country, the platform of choice for corporate clients to promote their business.
The Internet in China is an established medium particularly for the urban youth, who are spending more time online at the expense of watching television, making it the most effective marketing vehicle for companies to target this highly attractive segment in the Chinese market.
The Company is quickly realizing its goal of building a sustainable and diversified business model on two strong pillars: a steadfast home-market corporate advertising base and a massive, paying user population.
With over 50 million registered users at the end of September 2002, SOHU has the largest online user base in China. It is a household name among the 300 million people living in urban centers. For the second year in a row the Sinomonitor International survey - the largest Internet Survey in the country- ranked SOHU.COM as the most visited portal in China.
SOHU, with its exclusive focus on the China market, is operating in a high-growth industry under compelling market conditions. The Chinese Ministry of Information Industry (MII) predicts that the Internet sector will grow to 200 million users by 2005.China's economic growth is expected to remain robust in coming years as the country is opening up further under the terms of WTO membership and preparations intensify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Shanghai World
In 1978, China had less than one television receiver per 100 people, and fewer than ten million Chinese had access to a television set. Current estimates indicate that there are now about 25 TV sets per 100 people and that roughly a billion Chinese have access to television. Similarly, in 1965 there were 12 television and 93 radio stations in China; today there are approximately 700 conventional television stations plus about 3,000 cable channels and 1,000 radio stations.
China Central Television
China Central Television or Chinese Central Television, or CCTV is the major broadcast television network in Mainland China. Organizationally it is a subministry of the China's central government within the State Administrator of Radio, Television, and Film and as such it does not have any editorial independence from the PRC government.
Its news reporting follows parameters directed by the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China. Most of its programming, however, is a mix of comedy and dramatic programming, the majority of which consists of Chinese soap operas. Like many media outlets in China, CCTV has had its state subsidy reduced dramatically in the 1990s, and hence finds it necessary to balance its role as a government agency with the practical fact that it must attract viewers so that it can sell commercial advertising. In searching for viewers, CCTV has found itself in competition with local television stations (which are also state run) which have been creating increasingly large media groups in order to compete with CCTV.
CCTV first broadcast on September 2, 1958 under the name Beijing Television, after an experimental broadcast on May 1. The name was changed to CCTV on May 1, 1978.
CCTV has sixteen different channels of programming content and competes with television stations run by local governments (such as BTV and several regional channels) and foreign programming which can be readily received via satellite television. Unlike US channel naming conventions, but similar to the situation in many countries in Europe, CCTV channels are listed in sequential order with no discerning descriptions, e.g. CCTV-1, CCTV-2, etc.
Outside China, it is only possible to receive channels CCTV-4 (overseas channel) and CCTV-9 (overseas channel targeted at an English-speaking audience) via a Digital Video Broadcast signal. CCTV has just recently switched from analog to DVB primarily due to better signal quality and the ability to charge for reception (about 10 USD per year subscription). The aforementioned overseas channels are relayed off many different satellites around the world.
CCTV now has 16 channels. They are:
CCTV-4 International channel in Chinese
CCTV-8 TV drama
CCTV-9 International channel in English
CCTV-10 Science and Technology
CCTV-12 Society and Law
CCTV-News -- 24-hour News
CCTV-Children -- Children's channel
CCTV-Music -- Music
CCTV-E&F -- International Broadcast in Spanish and French
Television broadcasting is controlled by Chinese Central Television (CCTV), the country's only national network. CCTV, which employs about 2,400 people, falls under the dual supervision of the Propaganda Department, responsible ultimately for media content, and the Ministry of Radio, Film, and Television, which oversees operations. A Vice Minister in the latter ministry serves as chairman of CCTV. The network's principal directors and other officers are appointed by the State. So are the top officials at local conventional television stations in China nearly all of which are restricted to broadcasting within their own province or municipality that receive CCTV broadcasts.
CCTV produces its own news broadcasts three times a day and is the country's most powerful and prolific television program producer. It also has a monopoly on purchases of programming from overseas. All local stations are required to carry CCTV's 7 p.m. main news broadcast; an internal CCTV survey indicates that nearly 500 million people countrywide regularly watch this program.
Talk radio in China allows a much freer exchange of views than other media formats. In effect, talk radio has shifted the paradigm from authorities addressing the people to people addressing the authorities. For example, until 1991 the 14 million inhabitants of Shanghai were served by only one radio station Radio Shanghai which primarily aired predictable, pro-government propaganda. In 1992, East Radio was established with a format that catered to citizens' individual concerns and deemphasized propaganda. Competition between the two Shanghai radio stations has resulted in much livelier coverage by both including call-in programs that air discussions of politics, lifestyle, and previously forbidden social subjects. Because callers usually are not required to identify themselves, such discussions are far more candid than would be possible on television. Party officials regularly give guidance to the hosts and producers of talk-radio programs, but such guidance is usually ignored without penalty because party officials do not want to create problems by moving against these highly popular programs.
CABLE TV AND SATELLITES
Residents of the Chinese mainland now receive more than 20 outside television channels by satellite, including Chinese-language services of CNN, Star TV, and the United States Information Agency. In the southern province of Guangdong, 97 percent of the households have television sets, and all except those in a few parts of the city of Guangzhou where reception is poor have access to Hong Kong television through cable networks. Some local stations even intercept the signals and insert their own commercials. Beijing is unable to effectively monitor, let alone control, the illicit cable operators who have sprung up since the early 1990s. As of 1995, about 1,000 of the 3,000 cable stations in China, linked to perhaps 50 million homes, were unlicensed.
Satellite dishes in mainland China that pull in programs from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other places are regulated, but government entities such as the Ministry of Machinery Industry and the military services produce such dishes outside allowable quotas and guidelines and then sell them illicitly to eager customers. Efforts by the Ministry of Radio, Film, and Television to halt this practice have been ineffective, mostly because of the large profits involved up to 50 percent per dish. Indeed, the government has backtracked in its efforts to stop these practices moving from an outright ban on satellite dishes (1993), to requiring that they be licensed (1994), to specifying allowable programs and viewing hours (1995).
THE ROLE OF “INTERNAL” MEDIA
The Chinese media's internal publication system, in which certain journals are published exclusively for government and party officials, provides information and analysis not generally available to the public. The State values these internal reports because they contain much of China's most sensitive, con