MTV Asia's new Hong Kong office will play a pivotal role in the operation, spearheading the channel's activities in China and Taiwan even though the channel is not broadcast terrestrially in the territory. Peter Jamieson, MTV Asia's president, speaking at a function to mark the opening of the channel's Hong Kong office in Tsim Sha Tsui last week, said: 'It [the Hong Kong office] is here to be close to the regional headquarters of record companies and advertisers. 'It is here to understand the market and to become an exporter of Chinese programming worldwide and, hopefully, it is going to bring MTV to Hong Kong very soon,' he said. MTV Asia also has plans to open a southern China operation after 1997. Mr Jamieson said there had been discussions about broadcasting MTV in Hong Kong and that it was getting closer to happening but Wharf Cable's monopoly on the territory's cable licence had made negotiations difficult. 'The key thing here is a capacity problem. It's not a case of a channel sitting there waiting for MTV. Wharf has its full capacity of channels so we have to explore other ways around that [to broadcast]. 'Unfortunately, since we are not on in Hong Kong, it is not immediately possible for the public to recognise that MTV is back in Asia in a big way with proper distribution. Outside of India, we are seen in 15 million homes in 14 territories,' he said. Mr Jamieson said the long period off the air had made MTV Asia the underdog in its battle for viewers with rivals Channel [V]. 'They [Channel V] took full advantage of our absence and did some very good and interesting stuff. They took over what MTV had done, changed the logo and off they went. 'Obviously, if you are working for 18 months you have a few ideas of your own so we do start up as the underdog.' MTV will launch in India next month as part of its expansion plans in Asia. Mr Jamieson said the Indian operation would be based in Bombay with a staff of 40 planned for the first year. Additional offices would be opened in Delhi, Bangalore and Calcutta. Mr Jamieson said the Indian operation would eventually produce India-specific programming and would be seen throughout the country on cable, with operators taking the feed from the PanAmSat-4. 'The programming will be Asian with the technical uplink out of Singapore,' he said. The company has also recently signed a deal with Sri Lankan cable operators Teleshan to broadcast six hours of programming a day and is negotiating a deal to supply 10,000 homes in Brunei. 'Basically, we are still looking for distribution all over Asia because we provide a service that is designed for every country in Asia. 'To enter a market, you have to assess the potential value of the market before you make a significant investment in it,' he said. MTV Asia was originally seen in Asia on STAR TV. But, when the licensing deal ended in May last year, STAR started Channel [V] and MTV Asia went into an 18-month hiatus. It re-launched out of Singapore in April.