StarTimes to establish its presence in Guinea

China has signed an agreement with the West African nation of Guinea to bring satellite-TV services to more than 300 villages. The agreement is part of China’s plan to provide such services to 10,000 villages in 25 African countries by the end of 2018.

StarTimes Vice President Guo Ziqi said that the company will provide satellite dishes for free and is expected to charge the equivalent of a $1 subscription fee per month.

He added, “Before we entered this market, the average fee for a cable or satellite TV package for a family was about $40 dollars per month.” The company, with nearly 10 million subscribers in 30 African countries, said they aim to introduce more Chinese TV series that combine both African and Chinese cultural elements and become a channel for cultural exchange.

Its packages currently include several local African channels and a wide selection of Chinese news, entertainment and sports programming. “The pay-TV operator is playing a vital role to further China’s soft-power diplomacy agenda in Africa,” Dani Madrid-Morales, a doctoral fellow at the City University of Hong Kong, told news site China Africa Project. “It’s a huge effort to get Africans to understand China.”