Production unit raises money for expansion

PolyBona, one of China’s leading private distribs and production companies, has raised 100 million yuan ($15 million) from venture capital firms in a second round of financing to fund expansion in the country’s booming film biz.

The capital infusion follows a first round of financing last year, which raised $30 million, ahead of an overseas listing planned for 2011. Taking part in the recent financing was Sequoia Capital China, SIG, Matrix Partners China Industrial and the Commercial Bank of China. The company also announced a link-up with the department store Maoye to build cinemas.

“The Chinese film market has developed a lot in recent years and the growth in PolyBona has coincided with the growth of the industry,” prexy Yu Dong said.

The first $8 million will go toward distributing Jackie Chan’s $25 million “Big Soldier,” Teddy Chan’s “Dark October” and the romance “Yi lu you ni.” Other pics on Bona’s slate are the historical epic “Wheat,” which opened the Shanghai Film Festival on Saturday; financial thriller “Overheard”; “Empire of Silver,” about Shanxi merchants; chopsocky pic “Mulan”; horror pic “The Deserted Village”; “Taipei Snow” and “Like a Dream.”

In February, PolyBona linked up with Hong Kong helmer Peter Chan and Chinese helmer Huang Jiangxin to form the shingle Cinema Popular.

PolyBona merged in 2003 with China Poly Group, the wealthy business arm of China’s People’s Liberation Army, to form PolyBona Film Distribution. It was one of the first private firms to get a distribution license from the China Film Bureau.

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