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Sunday, 12 March, 2000, 17:38 GMT
Murdoch eyes up Indian IT firms

Indian arm of eVentures was launched last October
Rupert Murdoch has said his media group News Corporation plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Indian television services and technology firms.


There is tremendous excitement and possibilities in technology more than anywhere else in Bangalore and I have just come to see for myself and learn.

Rupert Murdoch
Mr Murdoch, who is on a three-day visit to India's technology capital, Bangalore, said: "We have a lot of plans and I think starting in April you'll see us announcing a lot of important initiatives."

On Sunday, he had a meeting with the heads of two of India's largest IT companies, Infosys Technologies and Wipro.

Before the meeting, Mr Murdoch stressed that he had no intention of acquiring companies, preferring instead to enter into joint ventures with local firms.

He said News Corp. would first work on "beefing up" its television services in the country and chase a bigger share of the market.

News Corp. is represented in India through News Television India, an arm of the group's Hong Kong-based Star TV.

Multilingual

Star operates half a dozen satellite television channels in the country, offering news, entertainment and sports broadcasts predominantly in English as well as India's national language Hindi.

Mr Murdoch said Star intended to have services in six main Indian languages but did not give details of when they would be launched.

He said: "When we expand our television services to the whole of India, we will certainly expect to do a great deal more than one or two languages."

Mr Murdoch's high-technology venture capital company eVentures - formed jointly by News Corp. and Japan's Softbank Corporation - launched an internet investment arm called eVentures India in October 1999.

Last week, the Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer - a business rival of Mr Murdoch's - picked up a 10% stake in leading Indian technology firm Himachal Futuristic Communications and announced joint ventures related to e-commerce.

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