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WWE inks deal with China's PPTV, signs Bin Wang to developmental

Bin Wang

Through the Hollywood Reporter, WWE announced a streaming deal with the Chinese service PPTV to air Raw, Smackdown, and PPV events in the country via Internet streaming starting on 6/28 with the shows airing a few hours after they air in North America.

Additionally, WWE announced the signing of their first Chinese-born talent, as well as a September 10th live event -- their first event there in more than three years.

The WWE held a press event in Shanghai earlier today with Michelle Wilson, John Cena, Jay Li (Vice President and General Manager of WWE's Shanghai office), Paul Levesque, as well as PPTV's Stephen Zhang and Shanghai Expo's Ding Hao present.

Up to this point, WWE had just a one hour edited version of Raw as its only television available in much of the country. The shows will air in Mandarin, and WWE will also debut a Mandarin language website.

PPTV and PPTV Sports will stream the shows on Smart TVs, set-top boxes, mobile devices, and tablets, as well as their websites.  There will also be specialized Chinese programming on those services.

On the in-ring side, Bin Wang is now under a developmental deal, the first wrestler of Chinese ancestry to be with the promotion. Often known as Wang Bin, he has been a regular undercard wrestler for Antonio Inoki's IGF promotion in Japan. The Inoki group first reported on his signing with WWE Wednesday night and wished him well.  He starts this weekend with the promotion.

In conjunction with the news, WWE has reached a deal with Expo Group as live promoters, and announced a 9/10 live event at the Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai. 

The WWE and UFC have both been attempting to open up shop in China. For both groups, it has been a slow-moving and often frustrating endeavor.

"Today's historic announcements further demonstrate WWE's long-term commitment to China," said Vince McMahon. "Partnerships with PPTV and Expo Group, as well as the signing of Bin Wang, will enable us to engage our fans in China like never before."