ABU DHABI (AFP) – News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch announced on Tuesday that the Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi is to become the headquarters of his global media empire in the Middle East.
Addressing some 400 delegates at the opening of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, Murdoch said his corporation had started out as a small Australian firm to become a US-based international company that employs 64,000 people.
“I have every confidence that Arab companies can do the same and more. I also believe that Abu Dhabi can lead the way.”
Murdoch said News Corp would headquarter its Middle Eastern global online advertising operations in Abu Dhabi, and move a number of satellite television channels to the capital of the United Arab Emirates from Hong Kong.
“We will (also) establish a production office here for one of our documentary film-making companies,” he said.
“When we look to the future, News Corporation is betting on the creative potential of the more than 335 million people who make up the Arab world,” he added.
Organised by the Abu Dhabi government, the three-day summit is expected to address the potential of the emerging media markets in the Middle East, India and China.
Mohammed Khalaf al-Mazruei, who heads the Abu Dhabi Media Company, told delegates that “the Middle East is experiencing radical change,” and that its media should “accompany this revolution.”
News Corp has already established strong links with the region, last month agreeing to invest 70 million dollars in the Rotana Group, which is controlled by Saudi tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, after buying a 9.0 percent stake in the firm.
Alwaleed’s Kingdom holding company also owns around 7.0 percent of News Corp’s class B common stock.