China media firm goes to Hollywood with US$250 million Universal deal

China media firm goes to Hollywood with US$250 million Universal deal

SHANGHAI: A Chinese entertainment firm said Thursday (Feb 18) it will offer US$250 million in financing to US studio Universal Pictures, the latest deal to turn the spotlight on the country's Hollywood ambitions.

Beijing-based Perfect World Pictures will invest in Universal's films for the next five years, it said in a statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange where it is listed. It will also share global revenue for at least 50 co-financed movies with Universal, which is behind film franchises such as "Jurassic Park" and "The Fast and the Furious".

Perfect World is best known in China for producing television shows, though it is also behind popular domestic films like the 2009 romantic comedy "Sophie's Revenge" featuring well-known Chinese actresses Zhang Ziyi and Fan Bingbing.

The Chinese company called the deal a step in building a "comprehensive" entertainment group and expanding its film business globally, the statement said.

Stock investors cheered the deal, sending Perfect World's stock up 1.92 percent on Thursday.

Chinese companies are ramping up investment in the foreign entertainment industry, as the country seeks to boost its "soft power". Foreign studios are keen to expand into China's fast-growing cinema market, now the second-largest in the world.

In January, Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group signed a US$3.5 billion deal to buy Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment, said to be China's biggest-ever cultural takeover.

In September, private equity firm China Media Capital unveiled a venture with US entertainment giant Warner Bros. to develop films. State-backed Hunan TV last year also announced a US$1.5 billion agreement to fund the movies of US studio Lionsgate.

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.