Time Warner has broken into the potentially lucrative Chinese-language programming market through a ground-breaking strategic alliance with Hong Kong-based broadcaster China Entertainment Television (CETV).

Time Warner-owned Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) Asia Pacific will provide the channel with selected programming and also work closely with CETV founder Robert Chua to produce original Chinese-language fare. In addition, TBS Asia Pacific, along with Warner Bros International Television, will provide the channel with global sales and marketing support.

"We see this alliance with CETV as an ideal way for Time Warner to assist in the creation of a high-quality Chinese-language channel that will meaningfully contribute to the development of original Chinese programming and be a great service to the television industry," said Time Warner chairman and CEO Gerald Levin.

Chua will remain chairman of CETV and will continue to oversee the channel's content.

"We are delighted to have Time Warner's involvement, particularly because they share our programming vision and our commitment to continuing discussions with other Chinese investors," Chua said.

The deal also gives Time Warner a platform to compete with the Phoenix joint venture in which Rupert Murdoch's Star TV has a 45% share.

Launched in March 1995, CETV is a 24-hour Mandarin-language family entertainment channel that reaches an estimated 33 million households in Asia.