China's Wanda Open U.S. Entertainment Office

HONG KONG – Chinese property developer Dalian Wanda Group said Friday that it plans to invest $1.2 billion in a mixed use site, which will include offices that act as the U.S. headquarters of its nascent U.S. entertainment interests.

Wanda, which is China’s largest private sector cinema operator and is now a Chinese film producer and distributor, acquired North American cinema chain AMC Entertainment two years ago.

“The company will set up a Los Angeles office, which will handle entertainment sector investments while the company’s New York office will be responsible for commercial sector investments. … The office will also be the base for investment in local film production companies or global theatrical releases,” it said.

Except for a couple of specialty-scale releases of a couple of Chinese movies, Wanda has not yet expanded its U.S. entertainment business beyond the AMC investment. The group, however, is an active property developer in China and the U.S. It has commercial development offices in New York and is opening hotels in Chicago

It said that it beat 10 other bidders from North America and Asia for the 344,320 sq. ft. plot at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, the former Robinson’s-May department store opposite the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Wanda last year announced that it plans to develop a huge site in Qingdao, eastern China, into a studio with 20 stages, a film museum and headquarters for a new festival as well as residential developments. It said that it may spend up to RMB50 billion ($8.1 billion) on the site. It is scheduled to open in 2017.

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