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‘The Voice’ producer eyes China expansion despite dispute

Dutch TV producer Talpa said it plans to stick around in China's "young and dynamic" market despite a trademark dispute over hit show "The Voice of China."

Talpa said it has teamed up with Beijing-based Talent International Film Co., Ltd. to make the next season of "The Voice of China." It is also suing its previous Chinese partner for illegally using the name and logo for another show.

Talpa CEO Pim Schmitz said at a press release on Wednesday that the company has not adjusted its China plan due to the trademark dispute, which he described as "normal" and "part of the business."

The company is eyeing an expansion in China's "relatively young entertainment market," which has growing demand for interesting and original programming and foreign formats, Schmitz said.

Apart from introducing more successful Talpa formats to China, the company also plans to co-produce original programming designed for the Chinese market, he added.

Talpa partnered with Star China to produce four seasons of "The Voice of China," but the partnership turned sour after the two sides failed to agree on license fees and other terms, according to Talpa.

Star China has accused Talpa of demanding exorbitant license fees and prepared to launch its own version of the talent show. However, Talpa said it owns the trademark and blamed Star China for refusing to pay a reasonable fee despite the show's growing popularity.

Talpa has filed a suit against an affiliate of Star China and another Chinese company for illegally using its logos and graphics. A Beijing court accepted the case in March.

It remains unknown whether the suit will dent the popularity of the latest season of the show, which now faces fierce competition from a host of other variety shows, both foreign and domestic.

"The Voice" features celebrities who coach amateur talent through a series of contests. Talpa said versions of the show have aired in 180 countries.

"The Voice of China" became a national hit after its first season aired in 2012. Its success fueled a trend in buying copyrights of successful foreign variety shows to produce local versions.


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