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China's State News Agency Eyes Denver For English-Language Hub

DENVER (Denver Post)--China's state-run news agency is considering Denver for a production facility and studio employing as many as 300 as it builds an international English-language news channel to eventually challenge CNN. A delegation of six Chinese officials representing the CNC World channel visited Colorado on Sunday and Monday, meeting separately with Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor-elect Michael Hancock. The delegation also is visiting New York and at least one other U.S. city during its trip, said David Thomson, director of global development for Colorado's Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The officials also met with representatives of satellite-television provider Dish Network Corp. (DISH), which is based in Colorado's Douglas County, near Denver. "They're looking for a U.S. base to have a production facility and studio where they can be centrally located in the U.S.," Thomson said. "That's why they're considering Denver." Hancock told the Denver Post that the Chinese officials told him the U.S. facility could employ 300 people. Thomson said the officials envisioned basing correspondents throughout the U.S., with the facility serving as a base of operations. China's Xinhua news agency launched CNC World last year. U.K. newspaper the Guardian reported that Chinese authorities said the purpose of the channel is to promote the country's image and viewpoint, and ultimately to challenge the BBC and CNN. "According to plan, CNC global news network will cover some 100 countries and regions and will acquire overseas media market shares by 2014," the network says on its website. "It is expected to grow into a TV news terminal with global influence by 2020." Officials told Hickenlooper that they plan to employ 14,000 correspondents worldwide, Thomson said. The delegation offered few details during its Colorado visit. Incentives were not discussed, Thomson said. "They were very, very vague with us, which makes it hard to know what to say about it," he said. The Chinese initially contacted the governor's office about a month ago. Dwayne Romero, Hickenlooper's economic development chief, set up the trip, Thompson said. Colorado offers a 10% cash rebate for film and television production costs taking place in the state. Out-of-state production companies must spend at least $250,000 here, and at least 25% of their work force must be Colorado residents. Website: www.denverpost.com

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