Eurovision Asia: Full membership in the ABU is NOT required to participate in the song contest

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On August 18 the organisers behind Eurovision Asia launched their official web site, announcing that “the Asia-Pacific region will be able to compete in their own version of the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time.”

And ever since then Eurovision fans have been wondering aloud which members of the Asian-Pacific Broadcasting Union — the region’s counterpart to the European Broadcasting Union — will be invited to compete. The Philippines, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Samoa — the potential names just roll off the tongue.

Well it’s time to expand your guesses and widen your dreams.

On Monday Blink TV — the esteemed production company that’s making Eurovision Asia a reality — confirmed to wiwibloggs that it wants to involve countries from across the Asia-Pacific region regardless of whether they have a state-run channel that has full membership in the ABU.

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“We are keen to engage and involve countries from across the Asian region, and their content platforms, be they commercial or government organisations,” a spokesperson told wiwibloggs. “All are welcome.”

You’ll note that full members of the ABU “are national free-to-air broadcasters in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Eurovision Asia’s willingness to involve commercial organisations shows a spirit of inclusivity that could well encourage countries from outside the ABU, or with only associate membership, to participate.

While the ABU’s full members will no doubt be important — they include some of the biggest and most-watched broadcasters in the world — there’s leeway for others. #CelebrateDiversity, right?

Potential Eurovision Asia participants

Given that criteria, what other countries might participate?

The United Arab Emirates, which is home to pan-Arab broadcasters like the Orbit Showtime Network and the Middle East Broadcasting Centre, springs to mind. Orbit is the home of X Factor Middle East, which produced the region’s most popular boy band The5.

The UAE — whose most populous city is Dubai — does not currently have ABU membership.

Another region that springs to mind is Hong Kong. According to ABU jargon, Hong Kong has four members that enjoy “Additional Full Member” status, which covers areas “where there are already two full members and members in non-independent areas.”

These four broadcasters in Hong Kong are: Digital Broadcasting Corporation Hong Kong Limited (DBC); Metro Broadcast Corporation Limited (METRO); Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK); and Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB).

Hong Kong — officially “a special administration region of the People’s Republic of China” — competes in a number of international events in its own name. Among these are the Olympic Games, the international Athletics circuit and Miss International. Given the depth and talent in Cantopop, including artists like Paula Tsui, pictured at top, their independent participation here would make sense.

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The topic of autonomous or semi-autonomous overseas territories leads us to Tahiti, the largest and most populous island in French Polynesia, which is itself an “overseas collectivity” of France. It does not have a member network in the ABU.

French Polynesians, who are spread out over Tahiti, the Society Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas Islands and the Austral Islands, frequently compete in international competition under the name of Tahiti. Examples include basketball and, at various points in their history, Miss World, Miss Earth and Miss International.

Another country that springs to mind is Taiwan, whose hostile relations with the People’s Republic of China may make its participation a thorny issue. But Eurovision — and indeed Eurovision Asia — is about bringing people together, so perhaps they too will receive an invitation and accept. Taiwan currently competes as “Chinese Tapei” at the Olympic Games.

In any case, are you excited that Eurovision Asia could involve broadcasters outside of those with full ABU membership? Let us know in the comments box below.

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