×

Sony treks to China

Joint venture plans digital pix, HD TV fare

Sony is upping its ante in the difficult-to-crack Chinese market.

The conglom’s international TV arm is partnering with a division of China Film Group in a co-production joint venture approved by the People’s Republic of China’s national government.

Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) and Hua Long Film Digital Production, a unit of China Film Group, are the two entities combining forces. The new company, Huaso Film/Television Digital Production Company, will be known as Huaso, an acronym combining Hua Long with Sony. CFG will hold a 51% interest in the joint venture with Sony holding the rest.

Venture will focus on producing high-definition TV programs and digital films. It also will look for distribution opportunities in international markets.

The joint venture is part of SPTI’s larger commitment to increase production capabilities in Asia. For a decade the Sony division has been producing local-lingo TV shows of various genres in India, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan.

The new Huaso venture received initial approval from China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television in July, but the company decided to wait to announce its creation until after new Chinese media ownership laws were announced earlier this month.

The laws allow increased participation by foreign companies in Chinese TV and film production.

Huaso has opened offices in Beijing and will be run by a board of directors, with Dandan Zhang recently appointed as general manager to oversee day-to-day operations.

Huaso has a number of Chinese-language projects already in development, including sitcoms, drama series and telepics, for distribution within and outside China.

How much money can be made from putting these two entities together remains to be seen, since so far no Hollywood major has been able to extract significant profits from media efforts in China.

(Japanese-owned Sony does have other successful ventures in China on the consumer electronics side.)

“Sony and China Film Group have a long history of co-producing and distributing Chinese films,” said Yang Buting, chairman of the CFG. “Huaso combines the strength and experience of two premier leaders in the filmed entertainment business.”

“China Film Group is the preeminent company in China’s movie and TV industry, and we are honored to be partners with them in this first-of-its-kind joint venture with national reach,” said Michael Grindon, president of SPTI.

Added Yang: “Sony and CFG have grasped an unprecedented opportunity as the Chinese film and TV industry opens up. For the very first time a Hollywood studio will be co-producing programming specifically for China and global audiences.”

CFG is a movie and TV production, post-production and distribution company employing 3,200 employees in its various businesses, including the Beijing Film Studio, the Movie Channel on national broadcaster CCTV, the Huayun Laser Disc Co., and the China Film Equipment Corp.

CFG is also the only Chinese company authorized by the national government to import foreign films. Sony’s pic division SPE has worked with CFG on digital post-production for Chinese feature films, including “Warriors of Heaven & Earth.”

As general manager of Huaso, Zhang will be responsible for the greenlighting of projects, all staffing, contractual and financial matters.

She was most recently a director of Sun TV in Hong Kong and had production experience in Beijing and in Canada.

More Scene

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream hosted by AT&T and from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized [...]

  • Emile Hirsch, Matt SmileyEmile Hirsch hosts

    Emile Hirsch Hosts Smiley Face Art Opening at Mondrian Hotel

    Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition. Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces. “I’ve seen more smiley symbolism lately, and I’ve [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content