Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has acquired a 50% stake in Hong Kong-based Star East Holding's new TV production subsidiary, Star East Works, for $19m (HK$150m).

Two of Star East Holding's existing television subsidiaries, Star East Productions and Discover China, will fall under the umbrella of the new company which plans to produce 400-600 hours of primarily Mandarin-language programming each year.

"Star East has been looking to identify regional platform partners for its television content. We decided on a joint venture with SPH because of our shared vision," said Star East Works COO Felix To. "We are making a concerted effort to tap this market. There are not many companies specifically targeting regional content."

Some of Star East Works' output will find its way onto two new TV channels that SPH plans to launch in Singapore in May, 2001: Channel U, which will be Mandarin-language, and English-language TV Works. SPH will be only the second company after MediaCorp to hold a free-to-air licence in Singapore.