ALTHOUGH Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has withdrawn - at least temporarily - its bid to gain control of 22 per cent of Hongkong's premier television station, Television Broadcasts Ltd (TVB), there are indications it will be back soon. Last week's joint statement from News Corp and TVB's present majority shareholders, said they ''feel they need more time to re-examine the structure of their proposals to the Hongkong Broadcasting Authority and the Government''. The proposal included a provision allowing News Corp to increase its stake to 33 per cent had the Securities and Futures Commission declared the transaction a concert party and compelled the those involved to make a bid for the company. Under concert party rules, a general offer to all shareholders may be necessary if two or more shareholders are deemed to be acting together in a bid. It is understood that none of the parties wanted to make an outright bid. One News Corp executive said: ''Things need to be reformulated so as to keep the regulators in Hongkong, and the officials in China, happy. ''That is especially so as we recognise that a takeover is not necessary. I think an application for News Corp to hold a 22 per cent stake will be re-submitted to the Hongkong Government.'' News Corp made its bid to buy the US$240 million stake from Sir Run Run Shaw's Shaw Brothers (Hongkong) and tycoon Robert Kuok's Kerry Holdings was made public on June 15, knowing it needed an exemption under Hongkong's Television Ordinance for the deal to go through. A foreign owner cannot buy more than 10 per cent of a Hongkong TV company unless the Broadcasting Authority approves. But Government approval is also needed if a broadcaster intends to own more than 15 per cent. According to one source, if the second application is turned down, the company may come up with other solutions to gain access to TVB's vast Chinese-language library. News Corp intends to use the material available for satellite transmissions to Taiwan, China and the rest of Asia. A joint-venture with TVB, outside of Hongkong Government restrictions, is a favoured option. ''If that happens,'' the News Corp executive said, ''then Hongkong will be the loser, since we won't be taking full advantage of TVB's capacities and won't be bringing the same commitment.'' Opposition to the News Corp bid remained muted until the semi-official China News Agency issued a statement on June 24 warning against ''bringing in foreign forces so as to internationalise the Hongkong media''. Comments from the official New China News Agency (NCNA) in Hongkong confirmed reinforced the mainland view. ''This will have an impact beyond 1997,'' said an NCNA official. ''The Hongkong Government should know very clearly how it should handle this question.'' News Corp has a half interest in the South China Morning Post, South China Sunday Morning Post and Wah Kiu Yat Po. One of the main reasons it mounted the bid was to gain access to TVB's library of Chinese films, according to another News Corp executive. ''The logic of the business is that all secondary sales of TVB's programming are subsidiary to the success of our goal of increasing the power of the golden egg of TVB's hugely important library,'' he said. The synergies between TVB and 20th Century Fox studios, the Fox Broadcasting Co, all of the US, and the now profitable BSkyB, of Britain, are clear. Fox, for instance, has a worldwide video distribution network, and - through its well-nurtured cable television connections in the US - access to a large market hitherto closed to TVB. TVB executives have said they would like to create an ethnic Chinese channel for satellite distribution in Europe. BSkyB can help them find economic transponder space to do that, say News Corp representatives. ''All of these things will increase the market place for TVB programming and that is only good for the studios in Hongkong, as production quality inevitably improves,'' said the News Corp executive. ''Certainly, we will be using Hongkong as a base for our new Chinese-language productions for satellite. This is a commitment to production and training. We want to be far more than an up-linker of foreign programming.''