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Warner Home Vid eyes DVD push in China

Introduction of Super VCD causing concern

BEIJING — Warner Home Video, the first Hollywood studio to enter the world of Chinese homevideo, is looking to make a push for DVD in China this year.

WHV’s Marsha King said the company wanted to release at least 50 titles on DVD format this year. “We are currently in discussions with distributors in China to structure our software launch of DVD for the summer of 1999,” she said.

King pointed out that DVD is compatible with China’s more common VCD (video compact disc), thereby allowing the consumer to play both formats on a DVD player.

Warner has already released more than 60 titles on VCD, but it is understandably worried that China’s recent introduction of the Super VCD will undermine the company’s desire to convert Chinese consumers to DVD.

In line with these concerns, Warner Advanced Media Operations (WAMO), the world’s largest DVD manufacturer, wants to set up one of 16 worldwide manufacturing bases in China, and has already contacted several potential partners in Shanghai and Beijing.

China has an estimated 30 million VCD players, or 80% of the world’s total.