In a move hinting at frailness of faith in the Nigerian economy, officially the continent’s biggest, StartTimes media is set to launch its headquarters in Kenya. The headquarters, which will also cater for the rest of Africa and serve as the Dubbing Center for Film and Broadcast Television in Kenya, is estimated to cost Ksh 6.9billion (about $79million). At the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, StarTimes, which also operates in Nigeria via a joint venture agreement with the Nigerian Television Authority, said it hopes to complete the project next year.
The headquarters is StarTime’s freshest key investment in Africa and one to further boost for Kenya’s economy by selling the country to other investors. During the event, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture Dr. Hassan Wario said: “I wish to commend StarTimes Media for this bold step, it is trend setting seeing that the headquarters will not only house your Africa operations, but also include a production centre that will see the growth of local productions and talents.”
The proposed headquarters will have six units, including StarTimes African Headquarters, StarTimes Kenya offices, a Film and Television Dubbing Center, StarTimes Broadcast Station, Digital TV research and development centre as well as a training centre.
President of the StarTimes Group, Mr. Pang Xinxing, said the decision to set up the Africa base in the country was advised by the sound investment environment in the country, a strong economy and the government’s commitment towards attracting increased foreign direct investment.
StarTimes, which launched in Nigeria in 2010, has enjoyed generous concessions from the Nigerian government. In the agreement that birthed the Star-NTA TV Network, through which the Chinese company operates in Nigeria, the Federal Government paid N750million to acquire 30 per cent stake and conceded to StarTimes the power to make NTA, the public broadcaster, cancel previous agreements with other broadcasters. StarTimes, which promised to assist the country in its March to digitalisation, started broadcasting on the about-to-be-phased-out DVB-T platform despite making a commitment to the National Broadcasting Commission in 2008 that it would broadcast on the DVB-T2, the technology compatible with digital broadcasting.