ATV cutting 200 staffers; TVB axing 50

HONG KONG — The deepening recession in Hong Kong forced commercial broadcast rivals Asia Television (ATV) and Television Broadcasting Corp. (TVB) to announce job cuts on Thursday.

ATV is pinkslipping 200 staffers, 20% of its workforce, on top of the 63 it laid off late last year, while TVB is axing 50 employees.

ATV announced the cuts on its website, where prexy Linus Cheung said the financial crisis had caused “enormous difficulties” at the station. ATV has accumulated losses of several billion Hong Kong dollars over the past few years, he said.

There had been speculation that ATV could get an injection of funds from Taiwanese billionaire Tsai Eng-meng, but that has not materialized.

A TVB spokesman said the job cuts included some of the positions involved in a downsizing announced late last year.

The recession is biting deep in Hong Kong, and unemployment has risen to 4.1%, while bankruptcies have doubled compared to last year.

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