Army-backed movie, multiplex investor aims to raise $100 million

MUMBAI – Poly Culture, one of China’s leading auction, cultural and film investors, is planning a stock market listing in Hong Kong, according to reports.

The state-owned enterprise previously planned to list its shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, but dropped them earlier this year due to regulatory uncertainty and a huge queue of other companies waiting in line. Now Poly Culture has turned to Hong Kong instead and will see to raise some US$100 million (HK$775 million) though an IPO, according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post.

Poly Culture grew out of the larger People’s Liberation Army-backed China Poly Group conglomerate with a wide remit that ranged from real estate, car dealing and mining to arms dealing. China Poly’s army connections officially ended in 1999, but the conglomerate is still run by Chen Hongsheng who served 28 years in the PLA.

Poly Culture is China’s leading domestic auction house, is a major movie theater manager and film investor. It was previously a backer of the NASDAQ-listed producer-distributor Bona Film Group, which in an earlier incarnation was named Poly Bona, and is co-owner of the Eastern Dragon multiplex chain.

Poly Culture became internationally well-known when its museum in Beijing became the new home for several bronze animal head sculptures taken from the Summer Palace during the Second Opium War involving Qing Dynasty China, Great Britain and France in the 1860s.

Returning the bronze heads to China was the subject of last year’s Jackie Chan-starring hit film “Chinese Zodiac” (aka “CZ12”), while stealing them again was one of the plots in this year’s action adventure picture “Switch.”

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