Rupe builds China nest

Home to be located near Forbidden City in Beijing

HOLLYWOOD — Rupert Murdoch is building a 22,000-square-foot house near the Forbidden City in the Beijing’s political and diplomatic area.

According to the South China Morning Post, once owned by the media mogul, the house is in the siheyuan courtyard style embodying Confucian thought.

Murdoch’s News Corp. declined to comment on the property, but a permanent base in China would make strategic and personal sense for Murdoch and third wife Wendi Deng.

Deng was born halfway between Beijing and Shanghai, in Xuzhou, where her father was a factory manager. She worked at Murdoch’s Star pay TV operation in Hong Kong, which is News Corp.’s key to the lucrative Chinese market.

China is becoming more comfortable with foreign media companies ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The country recently decreed that foreigners can own up to 49% of TV production companies in China, and restructuring plans at state broadcaster China Central Television could see it privatize some channels and production units.

Murdoch has also joined the board of China Netcom, the nation’s second-largest fixed-line phone company.

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