Western media corporations' risk and strategies in post -WTO China
The media industries play a major role in the trend of globalization today. Western transnational media corporations (TNMCs) have been actively expanding their businesses around the world for maximized profits. China's accession to WTO in 2001 demonstrated further openness of the economy to international competition. This study aimed to examine Western TNMCs' risk and strategies in the Chinese media market after WTO in an attempt to provide insights into the global media giants' perceptions, positions, and plans regarding the market.
International business theories highlighted the effect of a firm's external conditions on its strategy. Examination of Western TNMCs' strategic behavior in transitional and emerging markets revealed that their equity ownership differs by location as affected by the level of risk they perceive in the market. Based on its external conditions, a firm's perception of risk in terms of uncertainties about the market affects its control strategy in terms of equity ownership. Employing this innovative theoretical model, the study aimed to determine whether China's WTO entry would lead to Western TNMCs' lowered uncertainty perceptions and higher equity ownership in China as compared to before WTO. The primary research method used in this study was interviews. A total of 15 informants from Western TNMCs and 17 from Chinese media organizations and government agencies constituted the final sample.
Results of the study suggested that Western TNMCs' risk perceptions showed no major discontinuity in China's post-WTO era. In addition, their perceptions were basically consistent with the actual conditions of the Chinese media market, as well as those of the Chinese media professionals and policy makers. These findings reflect the Chinese government's gradualism strategy in economic reforms and development, and in regulating the media industries. In response to the risk they perceive in a long run, Western TNMCs have plans for increasing control. A majority of them indicated possibilities to engage in higher forms of ownership. Also, they will continue to develop connections with governments and distributors, localize their products, and differentiate the products vis-à-vis their competitors. All these plans comprise a roadmap for Western TNMCs' long-term development in China.
0708: Mass media