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Tuesday, 14 March, 2000, 12:42 GMT
Indian production base for Murdoch

Mr Murdoch with Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has said he plans to develop television production facilities in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

The decision is part of a plan to substantially expand the Indian operations of his Star Television satellite network.

Mr Murdoch also said he was interested in investing in internet start-ups in the country.

We are going to think globally, but act locally

Rupert Murdoch
"We'll be certainly investing in some companies," he said after a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in the state capital, Bombay.

"We had a meeting this morning about small investments in start-ups in dotcoms," he said after the fourth day of his visit to India.

Production base

The chairman of News Corp Ltd said he was impressed by the production facilities in Maharashtra and was likely to locate a production base in the state.

"He wants to set up a production studio and other facilities. We will give him all help," said Chief Minister Deshmukh.

Murdoch wants to develop TV production facilities
"I have asked him to come to us with concrete proposals so that we can sit across the table and discuss (them)," Mr Deshmukh said.

Mr Murdoch's News Corp is represented in India through News Television India, an arm of Star TV, and has offices in Bombay.

Star TV operates several satellite TV channels in India, in English and Hindi.

Over the weekend, Mr Murdoch said the channel would eventually begin transmission in several Indian languages as well as increase programming in Hindi.

"I think you will see us greatly expanding Star's presence here, our budgets on programming and our production facilities," Mr Murdoch said.

"We are developing 100% Hindi language programmes in the next six months.

"We are going to think globally, but act locally," he told a gathering of industrialists.

Earlier Mr Murdoch visited the southern city of Bangalore and said he was viewing the city as a possible source for his News Corp group's global software interests.

On Sunday, Mr Murdoch said he planned to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Indian television services and technology firms.
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