StarTimes to set up Sh7bn centre in Nairobi

Monday July 14 2014

StarTimes Group president Pang Xinxing (right) and Beijing Municipal bureau press director general Li Chunliang during the announcement of the building of StarTimes' Africa headquarters in Nairobi on July 14, 2014. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

StarTimes Group president Pang Xinxing (right) and Beijing Municipal bureau press director general Li Chunliang during the announcement of the building of StarTimes' Africa headquarters in Nairobi on July 14, 2014. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU NATION MEDIA GROUP

By LILIAN OCHIENG'
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Chinese Pay TV StarTimes will build a Sh6.9 billion Africa headquarters and broadcast centre in Nairobi.

This, according to the management, will see it increase the airing of Chinese soap operas and start the production of TV programmes in Kenya and other parts of Africa.

StarTimes Group president Pang Xinxing, while making this announcement on Monday, said Kenya and China had good business relations.

He commended Kenya’s commitment to attracting increased foreign direct investments.

“Through this we focus on promoting economic and social transformation as StarTimes stamps its commitment to Kenya and the larger Africa,” said Mr Pang. “We are also launching two new channels for the African market — Star Sport2 in July and Star Swahili in August.”

Chinese ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa said the government has approved the construction plan.

“The future is bright for both countries as stable investments continue building the economy,” said Mr Pang.

Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture Hassan Wario, who was present, said the proposed centre would help grow Kenyan talent in movie production.

AIR SERVICE AGREEMENT

The announcement comes a week after Kenya and China signed a bilateral air service agreement allowing Kenya Airways to access more destinations in China. This sets the pace for more Chinese to visit Kenya and vice versa.

Mr Pang said the agreement would boost Chinese confidence in the Kenyan market.

The 20,000 square metre StarTimes headquarters will be based in Karen. It will employ dozens of Kenyans during the construction and during the production of cultural materials.

It is set for completion by the end of next year and will feature six units including StarTimes Africa headquarters, StarTimes Kenya offices, a film and television recording centre, StarTimes broadcast station, digital TV research and development centre as well as a training facility.

With the proposed investment, StarTimes plans to increase its revenue in the region in the face of competition from GoTV, which dominates the Kenyan market.