02/08/2012 02:46 EST | Updated 04/08/2012 05:12 EDT

CCTV, China State TV, Foreign Expansion Plan Starts In U.S.


BEIJING, China - Chinese state broadcaster CCTV says it's launching its American service this week as part of a major overseas expansion drive.

The network said Wednesday that Washington-based CCTV America will offer four hours of programming daily. It said content will be produced by about 100 journalists working out of 15 bureaus in North and South America.

Its initial lineup will feature a business and finance program, Biz Asia America, a panel show called The Heat, and a magazine program, Americas Now.

The network is also opening a studio in Nairobi, Kenya, and hiring scores of new journalists and technical staff.

The expansion aims to counter negative images of China, although heavy state control tightly restricts CCTV's reporting about China.