AOL will soon begin broadcasting news programs supplied by Shanghai Media Group's broadband unit, the Shanghai Company said in a statement.
AOL, the online unit of media giant Time Warner Inc., recently announced that it has formed a tie-up with China's number two media company, one of its first such pairings since it withdrew from the Chinese market in 2003.
Under their new relationship, the broadband content arm of Shanghai Media Group (SMG) will provide material for a Chinese language version of AOL.com aimed at Chinese speakers in the United States.
"We are going to cooperate with AOL, mainly providing them with programs in Chinese language,'' said Wang Xiaotang, a spokeswoman for SMG Broadband Co.
Shanghai Media Group Broadband (SMGBB) will provide Chinese content mainly news, finance, entertainment and sports via AOL.com to viewers worldwide. "AOL aims to broadcast that content to Chinese all over the world,'' she said.
AOL, the Internet unit of Time Warner Inc, provides the online platform, and MediaZone, a worldwide provider of online television programming and a China partner of AOL, and Shanghai Media Group will do the daily maintenance.
The programs are available at http://www.aol.com/chinese, which provides up to 20 hours of video content including news, movies, and TV dramas.
It is reportedly the first time that a Chinese mainland media group is offering content to an established American website.
"This partnership is just a beginning, with the major fruits still to come in the future," said SMG Vice President Zhang Dazhong at a news briefing.
By creating this free, language-specific portal, we can better serve the millions of people in the United States who want access to critical features and communications tools, especially the latest news and entertainment video, in Chinese,'' Norman Koo, an AOL Web strategy executive, said in a statement.
He said the initial focus will be on free products and services, but the companies hope to further cooperate to develop fee-based services in the future.
It was not disclosed how much AOL will pay the Shanghai firm for the content.
Michelle Wu, MediaZone's chief operating officer, said: "Thanks to SMG, we are able to expand our service in Chinese via AOL.com with over 200 minutes of daily video news, especially offered to Chinese-speaking communities in the United States."
MediaZone's ChinaPortal.com helped AOL to launch its Chinese-language website in February.
AOL has had an on-again-off-again relationship with China this decade, mirroring its global fortunes as it boomed during the dot-com bubble of the 1990s only to fade during the crash that followed starting in 2000.
The company charged into China in 2001 amid a broader global expansion, launching a $200 million venture with much fanfare with Lenovo Group Ltd., China's largest PC maker.
But the pair scrapped the venture two years later after it failed to gain steam.
The company told Reuters in 2004 it was back in discussions to re-enter China -- the world's second biggest Internet market with more than 100 million Web surfers -- but no deal was ever announced.
According to AOL's Web site, its Chinese language Web site was developed with ChinaPortal.com, a MediaZone division. State-owned Shanghai Media Group was formed from the merger of the city's government-run radio and television stations in 2001 and ranks as one of the country's biggest media and entertainment conglomerates.
It has cooperation agreements with major international media groups including Viacom, Vivendi Universal and Discovery Channel.
SMGBB is the only company on the Chinese mainland licensed to provide Internet Protocol Television, or IPTV, services.
Its parent company, Shanghai Media & Entertainment Group, also owns film and theater troupes, culture centers and various multimedia and Internet ventures.
If it returns to China, AOL will find itself in a crowded market where local players like Sina Corp. and Sohu.com Inc. compete alongside global Web giants like Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft's MSN service.