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SINA To Acquire Largest Slice Of China's Sun TV

Chinese-language online network SINA.com Wednesday says it will buy 29 percent of China's Sun Television Cybernetworks from Yang Lan, a company chairperson, television host and one of the most widely respected TV journalists in China.

The deal, worth US$8 million in cash and about 4.6 million in newly issued SINA shares, makes the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company the TV conglomerate's largest shareholder and allows it to extend its brand and programming to some 30 million households in Greater China.

Based in Hong Kong, Sun TV is a major Satellite TV broadcaster and Cable TV program syndicator in the country. It has the right to operate two satellite TV channels with restricted landing rights issued by the Government of the People's Republic of China.

The station also produces cultural and information-related thematic programs. It has an exclusive license from A&E Channels as well as the exclusive management rights to pay-TV licenses for government approved broad from major TV content providers such as Discovery, MTV and StarzEncore.

In a separate but related announcement, SINA and Sun TV have agreed to a cross-over of marketing and promotions as well as jointly creating interactive online and TV programming that will take advantage of both media.

The companies will also further Sun TV's head start on its Interactive TV/ Broadband programming technology.

"In the fast evolving market of convergence and consolidations in Greater China, SINA is always leading the way to bring its premier brand and high-quality subscriber-based services to the mass Chinese consumers," says SINA CEO Daniel Mao. "By combining Internet portal with television, the two companies will leverage significant synergies and shorten the path to profitability."

Yang, who is expected to stay involved in Sun TV, was recently chosen to be the presenter on behalf of Beijing for its 2008 Olympics games bid.

"With the impending entry of China into WTO, the multi-nationals are poised to dramatically increase their spending for brand building in China," says Yang. "Sun TV and SINA together will be a leading media to take advantage of the oncoming advertising and media revolution in Greater China."