Wang Zhongjun is a man of no small ambition.
He dominates the Chinese film business with his ability to spot top talent and projects. He also has a knack for luring cash to fund the plans of the company he runs with his brother Wang Zhonglei, Huayi Brothers.
With the backing of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing and alliances with Media Asia, Huayi Brothers has an impressive slate this year, including longtime collaborator Feng Xiaogang’s “Assembly,” which will open the Pusan Intl. Film Festival. The company is currently making the $70 million “Forbidden Kingdom.”
Zhongjun founded Huayi Brothers Media Group as an advertising company back in 1994, with money he had earned working as a cartoonist and photographer while studying first at Michigan and then in New York. He strongly believed that one day he and his brother would be the “Chinese Warner Bros.,” the legend goes, and the Wang brothers have indeed transformed the firm into a media conglomerate running film, television, music, advertising and talent-management operations.
Huayi Brothers consolidated its position in China with local hits including “Big Shot’s Funeral,” “Kekexili” and “Kung Fu Hustle,” all co-productions with Sony/Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia.
“My ambitions change and evolve, but right now I want to make my company the largest private entertainment group in China. Then maybe we can become No. 1 in Asia and even in the world,” Zhongjun said in an interview with state media. His track record suggests he is not joking.
Zhongjun very much enjoys the mogul lifestyle, with an impressive collection of red-hot contemporary Chinese art, a stable of 60 horses and a collection of imported cars.