Publishing in China, Bertelsmann Making Their Play
Monday, January 28, 2002
Shanghai, 01/28/02 Thomas Middelhoff, Chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann Group, the global media group, recently arrived in Beijing to begin his visit to China. Mr. Middelhoff’s agenda this time included meeting with officials with China Communist Party Central Publicity Department, State Radio, Film and TV Administration and State Press and Publishing Administration and other government bodies on deepening Sino-German exchange and cooperation in cultural and media industries. Mr. Middelhoff said: "China plays a very important role in Bertelsmann’s global strategy. It is my hope that through visiting senior government officials and business partners, we could discuss further cooperation opportunities as well as specific projects. We also want to interact with local media to show the great importance we attach to this market." Mr. Middelhoff visited Beijing and Shanghai. One of the important items in his agenda in Shanghai is to sign a letter of intent with Shanghai Packaging Group and Shanghai Printing Group on the establishment of a joint venture printing company in Shanghai. Bertelsmann will take a 50% stake in the joint venture, and will be responsible for its management, while the two Chinese companies take the remaining 50% share. First phase investment of the joint venture will reach US$29 million, and the total investment will be significantly higher. The joint venture printing project will provide printing services for books, magazines, newspaper and packaging materials businesses and is expected to become one of the largest printing companies in China. Mr. Middelhoff noted: "Bertelsmann is pleased to set up this joint venture with the two powerful partners in Shanghai. It will enable us to enter the printing sector and is a very good expansion of our current operation in China, which is now entering a new stage. China will become more open after it the WTO entry, and the investment environment will become even better. We have every confidence toward the China market." Bertelsmann Group entered the China market seven years ago, and has achieved substantial business growth with the support of related government regulatory bodies. To date, Bertelsmann has established about 10 wholly-owned or joint venture companies in China, with businesses ranging from book club, Internet bookstores, business consulting, logistics and supply chain management and information technology services.