The U.K.'s Association of Independent Music is powering on in China. After establishing a presence there last year, the trade body today (April 10) unveiled a groundbreaking agreement to stream music

The U.K.'s Association of Independent Music is powering on in China. After establishing a presence there last year, the trade body today (April 10) unveiled a groundbreaking agreement to stream music promos and clips to Chinese Web portal SINA's 180 million registered users.

Through the pact, SINA will offer British video content via a dedicated "U.K. Music" area of its portal. The service will also accompany links to participating artists' Web sites.

The Prodigy, Basement Jaxx, Stereophonics and the Rakes are among the first acts to participate.

AIM chair/CEO Alison Wenham stressed that the initiative extended to all labels, including the majors. "We believe that this deal with SINA should create a portal in the fullest sense of the word - allowing this adventurous Chinese ISP to offer its users access to the widest range of British artists who choose to make their promos available," she said.

It is anticipated that the project in future will open it to offer footage from live performances, downloads and ringtones.

Commenting in a statement, Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, said the development represented a "significant deal that will put British artists at the forefront of digital business in China." Wenham and Livingstone will attend a succession of functions in China in the coming days to promote the SINA agreement and other cross-promotional activities.

The agreement was brokered by Singapore-based marketing and promotion specialist SWAT Enterprises, which helped open a consultancy office for AIM last May to cover the world's most populous market. Company founder describes the SINA initiative as "the most exciting arrangement between East and West" that SWAT has facilitated to-date.

Government agency the U.K. Trade and Investment has financially backed the SINA deal. The UKTI also supported previous AIM trade missions to China in 2004 and 2005, and helped to fund the opening last year of AIM's office in Beijing.

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