The Australian Broadcasting Corporation today opens a major new doorway linking China with Australia and in doing so becomes the first mainstream western media organisation to launch a Chinese registered web portal.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has congratulated the ABC on its achievement, saying “the potential for Australia's relationship with China to grow and prosper has never been greater and the launch tonight is a testament to the high degree of respect for Australia and for the ABC within China.”
The launch of the portal was "yet another important occasion in the Australia China relationship," Abbott said.
AustraliaPlus.cn is the newest edition to the ABC's international multiplatform media service offering a mix of Australian stories including business, education and travel aimed at a mainland Chinese audience as well as Chinese living in Australia.
Multi-media content on the site is produced in Chinese with some English language content and is selected for its relevance to a wide range of interests from those Chinese seeking to know more about Australia and its people or wanting to work, study, do business or holiday in Australia. The portal also features a selection of ABC English language programs such as documentary, drama and children's programs.
ABC International chief executive officer Lynley Marshall said “we have worked closely with our Chinese partners to reach this landmark day."
“From today Australia has an important new gateway through which to connect to millions of Chinese. We now have the ability to engage directly with our Chinese audiences from within China supported by our valued Chinese partners.”
Ms Marshall cited the importance of the Prime Minister's visit to China last year as well as the work of Trade Minister Andrew Robb and his team in securing a Free Trade Agreement with China which laid "the ideal foundation" to enable the ABC to establish its portal.
President of the Shanghai Media Group Madame Wang Jianjun also welcomed the launch. "The ABC and the Shanghai Media Group have been long term international partners and we have over the past run TV weeks for each other for many years, and we are making progress on other aspects in our partnership,” Madame Wang said. “ We warmly congratulate them on this new achievement they have made.”
AustraliaPlus.cn will offer stories covering Australian lifestyle, travel, studying and doing business in Australia, career opportunities, financial, business and sports news. It has a strong cultural presence with stories covering all the Australian arts including connections to ABC International’s partners such as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Ballet.
The site also serves content from ABC's world-leading Learn English programs as well as the world premiere of the Bobbie the Bear Live Action series – the lavender bear from Bridestowe Estate, Tasmania that has caused a sensation across China.
ABC International signed an extended international media agreement with its main Chinese media partner, the Shanghai Media Group (SMG), in June last year and currently has 16 syndication and co-production partnerships with China's leading television, radio and online organisations including CCTV, Beijing TV, China Daily Online, Tencent QQ, Sina and Youku.