Norman Cheng plays guitar while his son, singer-actor Ronald Cheng sings in an undated photo. [File Photo: tangshan.cc]
Norman Cheng, former chairman of EMI Music Asia, has acquired the British music company's entire business in China. Analysts say this will unfold a new chapter for the Mando-pop industry.
EMI announced on Sunday that Cheng, a Hong Kong native, made the purchase for at least 100 million Hong Kong dollars, Sohu.com reported. The exact amount was not revealed.
This means EMI, which entered China in the early 20th century, officially withdrew from the Chinese market.
All Chinese entertainers previously signed with EMI will renew their contracts with Cheng's new company Typhoon Group, Sohu.com reported. They include Taiwan pop divas Jolin Tsai and A-mei, Taiwan R&B singer David Tao, mainland singers Hu Yanbin and Xu Wei, and Hong Kong star Ronald Cheng, son of Norman Cheng.
As many people are concerned over the stars' future, some of them expressed their confidence in Cheng.
A-mei told Sohu, "I believe in him. The acquisition won't affect me much."
Ronald Cheng also offered support for his father, calling the purchase a good thing.
According to Norman Cheng, Typhoon Group will handle the entertainers' albums and film releases in China, while EMI will continue to promote them overseas. Under an agreement reached by the two companies, Typhoon Group will also help EMI-signed Western artists explore the Chinese market.
Cheng, a guitarist himself and long-time fixture in the Chinese music scene, has contributed to the popularity of veteran stars such as Teresa Teng, Leslie Cheung, Andy Lau and Jacky Cheung.
EMI's chief operating officer Chris Roling said he was impressed by Cheng's ability to promote musicians, and called the new alliance cost-cutting.
Analysts say EMI was struggling to adapt itself to the booming digital music in China, which is a major reason for a decline in album sales.
Cheng, however, is optimistic, saying he has seen a potential market in the diversified ways that music reaches the audience.