Owners of Power TV in dire financial situation

POWER DOWN: Despite the closure of its evening newspaper, the Hsiang Shan Group is laying off 100 people and seeking a further capital injection


Sat, Mar 30, 2002 - Page 2

The Hsiang Shan Group (象山集團), which owns the Power TV station and Power 98.9 radio station, is still facing financial difficulties and plans to lay off 100 workers, employees from the group said yesterday.

Speculation about the group's financial health had been circulating for weeks after it closed down its evening newspaper, Power News (勁晚報), last month.

Chinese-language newspapers have reported that the Hsing Shan Group has not yet fully paid for the equipment it is using at its radio and television stations and that attempts have been made to repossess the equipment.

The group's executive man-ager, Chiang Yong-ching (江永慶), brother of the group's president, Chiang Tao-sheng (江道生), resigned last week and emigrated to Australia.

Employees said that Chiang Tao-sheng held a meeting with high-level managers on Thursday in which he promised to search for new sources of capital for the group.

Chiang plans to invest another NT$350 million in the group and tried to convince the KMT, which owns 50 percent of the group, to invest the same amount.

"The group has spent all of the money. The group is trying to find new capital from its main investor, the KMT, which has refused to invest more money," said one employee, who declined to be identified.

According to Chinese-language newspapers Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑集團), Yuanta Group (元大集團) and Koo's Group (和信集團) are all interested in buying the the Hsiang Shan Group.

Hsiang Shan was the only media group in Taiwan that simultaneously owned a newspaper, radio station and cable station before it shut down its evening newspaper.

The group claimed at the time that the closure wouldn't affect the operations of its radio and TV stations.

Power TV recently landed a lucrative deal to broadcast the lottery draws live every Tuesday and Friday evening.

Chiang Tao-sheng gained notoriety and a good deal of money by running a chain of 22 kindergartens in Taipei city and county.

In other media-related news, Business Weekly Publishing Inc (商業周刊) announced on Thursday that it is closing down one of its magazines, Ebusiness Weekly (數位周刊). The magazine will publish its final edition next week.

Ebusiness Weekly, which wrote about the Internet, published its first edition two years ago. However, it failed to make any profits for Business Weekly Publishing Inc.

Business Weekly Publishing was bought by Hong-Kong based Tom.com last December.

According to Business Weekly Publishing, Ebusiness Weekly was not one of the publications included in the sale of the company to Tom.com.