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Hanhwa sets entertainment fund

South Korean conglom enters contents industry

SEOUL — South Korean conglom the Hanhwa Group is dipping its toes into the contents industry with a $12.9 million entertainment fund.

The fund will be overseen by Hanhwa advertising subsidiary Hancomm, and will invest primarily in films, TV content and theater productions. Investors include CJ Entertainment, CJ Media, Korean Life Insurance, Yellow Entertainment and Vantage Holdings.

Choi Jae-ho, head of Hancomm’s entertainment division, said the group had been studying the film industry since last year, and is considering a move into production and distribution.

Initial plans are to invest in various titles in CJ Entertainment’s lineup, and to develop its first independent project by next year.

Hanhwa, which is South Korea’s 16th largest conglom, joins a host of other massive firms already involved in the local film industry. Earlier this summer, major telco SK Telecom announced plans to launch a film division in 2008.

News will be greeted warmly by the local biz, which has been challenged since the film investment bubble burst in the past 12 months.

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