Hong Kong will see more cinemas developed in remote areas as part of the government’s new land policy. The government initiative follows a campaign for over a decade by the local industry.
Speaking at FilMart on Monday [March 13], Gregory So Kam-leung, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, revealed that land has been reserved for cinemas to be built in two locations in Kai Tak, Kowloon, and Sha Tin, New Territories.
“We will include in the land leases a required minimum number of cinema seats,” said the commerce minister.
So said the new initiative was intended to give a boost to the film industry, which has been demanding the government to include the building of cinemas as a land sale condition. Developers wishing to change the land use within the first seven years would have to pay a premium.
Separately, Hong Kong property giant New World Development Co. Ltd also announced on Tuesday [March 14] that it will team up with Pegasus Motion Pictures’ Cinema City to develop a new multiplex in Tsuen Wan, a district about an hour away from the city center.
The government will also ask the West Kowloon Cultural District if it can reserve land for a new cinema there.
The Hong Kong Theatres Association has lead the lobbying. In a report previously submitted to the Film Development Council in 2011, the number of cinemas was shown to have plunged from 119 housing 122,000 seats in 1993, to 47 in 2011, offering just 37,400 seats. The ratio of screens and seats for the population was much lower in Hong Kong compared to other cities in the region.
The association also said in the report that cinemas could only be found mostly in city center. Many populated districts away from city center did not have cinemas.