January 2011
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 China Radio wants India to Tune-In

Beijing: The state-run China Radio International is trying to buy frequencies to launch services in India in a move to widen its influence in the country. It currently broadcasts in four Indian languages - Hindi, Bengali, Urdu and Tamil - from Beijing.

Seen to be building a web of influence across the neighbourhood, Beijing runs AM and FM stations in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and seven other countries. It has also been building ports across the region and boosting connectivity.

"We've been trying to buy frequencies in India and are talking to some Indian companies who would like to work with us," CRI's deputy editor-in-chief Weigong Ma told TOI.

"We help build bridges, open up new windows and tell the world about the real China, the true China. We attract tourists to China and also tell Chinese about the places they can visit abroad. We recently launched a special service to promote Chinese tourism."

He said FM stations are crucial in expanding listenership in the changing media scenario.

CRI broadcasts programmes in 61 languages and propagates the Chinese foreign ministry's point of view on international affairs. CRI also beams programmes for Tibetans in China, Nepal and India.

CRI director-general Wang Gengnian said the radio service recently attracted more than 5 million foreign voters in an online poll to choose 10 most attractive tourist destinations in China. Indian diplomat Arun Sahoo was among the diplomats who gave prizes to the municipal heads of these cities at Beijing's Great Hall of the People on Tuesday. The destinations included Luoyang, which has an Indian temple.

"Some of these cities are unable to communicate with foreign tourists directly. This is where we come in,'' said CRI director Peng Li. CRI has also ventured into Internet radio service to widen its reach. ``It's also a low cost option and easy to establish," said Peng.


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