Media Asia, SM Entertainment Fund Set to Reach US$300 Million

Hong Kong film group, Media Asia expects to raise up to US$300 million for Dragon Tiger Capital Partners, a new film and TV investment fund.

The fund is jointly backed by SM Entertainment, one of the top three South Korean talent management, music and production groups, and Fubon, Taiwan’s finance to cable TV conglomerate.

The three companies announced in September last year that Media Asia would be the exclusive agent representing SM’s talent in mainland China, where K Pop stars are a major attraction. The fund launch builds on the earlier agreement.

CT Yip, who is CEO of Lai Sun and a board director of Media Asia, is the fund’s managing partner. Media Asia’s Gordon Chan will be responsible for film investments and Tommy Leung responsible for TV investments.

“This is a private closed end fund with a 5-8 year time horizon, that is designed to provide reliable financing and risk management for joint productions,” Yip told Variety. “As such it will capitalize on the growth of the Chinese entertainment market, the popularity of the ‘Korean wave’, and the fast-expanding connections between the Korean and Chinese film sectors.”

“We begin fund-raising in the next weeks and will welcome strategic investors from outside the group companies. The aim is to raise US$200 -300 million,” Yip said. “In the past few weeks we have attracted a lot of interest from certain U.S. companies and the major Internet groups from China.”

Yunfeng, the personal investment fund of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, is a Media Asia shareholder, but Yip would not be draw as whether Alibaba or Alibaba Pictures Group will join the Dragon Tiger Fund. Fubon is also a Media Asia equity investor.

Yip, however, confirmed that “Manhunt,” John Woo’s next film as director is expected to be one of the fund’s early portfolio investments.

Manhunt” is a recently announced retread of a Japanese crime novel that was previously made as a hit film in the 1970s and heads the slate of movies that Media Asia announced on Tuesday at the Hong Kong FilMart.

Other new slate additions include romantic comedy “An Office And A Panderer,” starring Gordon Lam and Ivana Wong.

The company is also in different stages of production on “Three,” a Johnny To-directed crime thriller starring Louis Koo, Vicki Zhao and Wallace Cheung; and “Trivisa,”another crime title, produced by To and Yau Na-hoi, and with a trio of directors Frank Hui, Vicky Wong, and Jevons Au Man-kit.

Media Asia will soon release “Helios,” an action thriller by Sunny Luk and Longman Leung, the directing pair previously responsible for hit “Cold War.”

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