Lai had originally wanted to purchase the China Times for its CTI cable news network, but decided instead to start his own when a rival bidder beat him to the purchase.
The chairman of Hong Kong's Next Media Ltd., which publishes the Apple Daily and Next Weekly in Taiwan, said in an interview Wednesday that he will invest more than six billion New Taiwan dollars, or about US$200 million, in the stations. They will carry general news, financial news, documentaries, talk shows, entertainment news, and some entertainment programs.
Taiwan is one of the most crowded television markets in the world. The island of 23 million people has more than 100 channels and eight 24-hours news channels.
But Mr. Lai said he has a good chance to succeed because people want credible sources of news with an international perspective. "The problem with TV here is it looks so provincial," he said.
Mr. Lai emphasized that his TV channels would counter what he called a pro-China trend that has developed among Taiwan media.
"Once you become the mouthpiece of China, the Taiwanese people will desert you," he said. "They are not stupid."
It sounds wonderful that Lai says he is planning to counter the mouthpieces of China. But before you break out the champagne, take a gander at the sad reality in the last paragraph....
Mr. Lai earlier this month appointed King Pu-tsung, a former Taiwan journalism professor and campaign manager of President Ma Ying-jeou, as the chief executive of the new TV stations.Hmmm.... appointing the campaign manager of our pro-China president to run a station whose stated goal is to oppose the local pro-China media? Sure, that'll work.