Media magnate Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is selling its entire 47 percent share of China STAR TV to its Chinese partner. The move has drawn speculation from international media, who believe Murdoch may be backing out of China altogether, with sights on India instead.
The buyer, China Media Capital (CMC), holds the other 53 percent share of STAR TV. The current CMC chairman is Li Ruigang, who chaired the Shanghai Broadcasting TV Station and the Shanghai Dongfang Media Corporation in the past.
The sale price is undisclosed, but is estimated at around $150 million, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The same report also said that Murdoch had been complaining “that News Corp and STAR TV had hit a ‘brick wall’ of regulation and censorship in China, with authorities ‘quite paranoid about what gets through.’”
Murdoch’s decision stirred up much speculation from international media. The New York Times, Daily Telegraph, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation pointed out that the move seemed to be a sign that Murdoch intended to completely abandon the Chinese market.
It seems that for Murdoch, after 20 years trying to crack the Chinese market, further development in China will continue to be largely constrained.
Another factor to consider is that Murdoch divorced his third wife, 45-year-old Wendi Deng from China, in November 2013. Deng used to be one of the senior executives in STAR TV. 21st Century Fox is still retaining National Geographic, ESPN sports channels and other non-journalistic media in China.