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Universal Pictures has tapped Jo Yan as managing director and exec VP of the studio’s new offices in China.

Yan will be responsible for building an office in China and overseeing the film group’s theatrical and digital distribution as well as its local Chinese-language production efforts. Yan will also help implement strategic goals for Universal Pictures, NBCUniversal and Comcast in this region.

“China is one of our most significant international territories and it is imperative that Universal has a strong, well-respected leader as we expand our presence in this region,” said Duncan Clark, Universal Pictures Intl. distribution president. “Jo is the perfect choice to build and lead our Chinese office, and we are delighted that he has decided to join our leadership team.”

Yan will also oversee, in conjunction with the studio’s consumer products group, the development of Universal brands and licensing business in the region.

He will also help one of the studio’s biggest producers, Illumination Entertainment, grow in the Chinese marketplace by serving as a creative adviser, helping to source local intellectual property and identifying companies who could provide animation services.

It’s a significant move for Universal as the industry looks to China for continued entertainment business growth.

Prior to joining Universal, Yan spent 20 years at the Walt Disney Co. Since April 2010, he has been senior VP of Studio Distribution for Greater China, where he oversaw Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, covering theatrical and home entertainment.

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