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Chinese state broadcaster CCTV is launching its American service this week as part of a major overseas expansion aimed at boosting China's international influence.

According to Associated Press, Washington-based CCTV America will eventually offer four hours of programming daily, with content produced by about 100 journalists working out of 15 bureaus in North and South America.

CCTV America's initial lineup will feature a business and finance programme, Biz Asia America, a panel show called The Heat, and a magazine programme, Americas Now. It will target an audience of more than 100 million in 120 countries, competing for viewers with the likes of the BBC, CNN and Al-Jazeera.

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

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