Huayi Brothers

HONG KONG – China’s Huayi Brothers Media, which recently ditched plans to invest in Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 company, has instead announced plans to set up its own U.S. outfit.

Huayi, which is China’s leading private sector film conglomerate, said that it will invest $130 million in the launch of a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The unit is to be involved in film and TV investment, production and distribution. It is also likely to be involved in marketing, promotion, investment and mergers and acquisitions, Huayi said in a regulatory filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Huayi said that it would fund the investment through its own financial resources or from bank loans.

Huayi said that it would fund the investment through its own financial resources or from bank loans.
No details have yet been revealed as to who will run the unit, or how it will operate. Nor has it unveiled its first productions.

In common with all major Chinese film companies, Huayi has spent several years examining the permutations of international co-productions, relations with Hollywood and indie production. The mushrooming of the domestic Chinese film and TV markets has also kept the focus largely at home, though companies like Huayi have also looked to overseas expansion as an investment in the future and for a time when the Chinese industry slows down.

Huayi’s move also follows the announcement earlier this summer by property-to-entertainment giant Dalian Wanda, that it had acquired a Beverly Hills building which, among other things, would be home to its U.S. entertainment operations.

Talks between Huayi and Studio 8 that might have seen Huayi invest $120 million in the former Warner Bros. chief’s nascent boutique, collapsed in June after several months. It was reported that Huayi wanted to syndicate its financing of the investment and was dragging its feet. China’s Fosun International, a large diversified investment corporation, appeared to trump that deal when it committed to investing $200 million in Studio 8.

Huayi, which in June celebrated its 20th anniversary with the opening of its first theme park, has since shown itself to be in strong financial health. It reported strong first half profit growth, a $49 million syndicated loan in August and a huge profit from the buying and resale of a small cinema chain.

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