You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Huayi Boss Denies Communist Influence in China’s Hollywood Dealings

James Wang (aka Wang Zhonglei), co-chief of China’s Huayi Brothers Media, poured cold water on the notion that the Communist Party is behind Chinese companies’ recent incursions into Hollywood.

“This is a joke,” said Wang on Wednesday in Los Angeles. “We are trying to develop our own markets.” He was speaking at the UCFTI Convention on Chinese-U.S. movie industry relations at L.A. Live, taking place the same week as the American Film Market in Santa Monica.

Some members of the U.S. Congress have suggested that regulators in America examine the recent Chinese investments. But Wang made careful distinction between the recent succession of Chinese investments and the string of Japanese corporate maneuvers in the 1990s and early 21st century, which provoked similar fears.

“In China, capital is seeking out content. Here (U.S.) companies are currently seeking capital,” said Wang. And finance is something that Chinese firms have provided in abundance in the past two years.

Chinese investments in Hollywood have included Fosun International’s equity investment in Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8, through co-financing deals of Perfect World and Bona Film Group (into Universal’s current production lineup, and 20th Century Fox’s current slate) to strategic co-operation deals between Alibaba and Amblin Partners and Wanda’s acquisition of Legendary Entertainment and the AMC cinema chain. Huayi is an equity investor and co-financing partner in mini-studio STX.

“(In its U.S. outreach) Huayi wants to focus on content and production companies,” said Wang. And he noted that is not a new approach.

Huayi was one of the first Chinese movie enterprises to be involved with a Hollywood studio. The company made several films with Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia, a late 20th century China production initiative that with hindsight now looks to have been ahead of its time.

Pressed to explain how Chinese companies obtain government permission to export capital and make overseas investments, Wang was damning. “I didn’t realize that Washington D.C. was also in the business of telling stories,” he said.

“There is no such approval process,” Wang said. “I need approval from my board of directors, not the (Chinese) government.”

Wang said that the Chinese film industry has much to learn from Hollywood, especially in talent and production, and suggested that China may actually be suffering a brain drain. “(China is) now making 700 movies a year, but the number of quality movies has not increased proportionately. If you have good ideas and skills please come to China now. There is a mismatch between talent and production and this way we have a lot of bad movies,” Wang said. “There are lots of Chinese going to study film in the U.S., but not all of them are coming back.

More Biz

  • Paradigm Names Marty Diamond Head of

    Paradigm Names Marty Diamond Head of Global Music

    Paradigm Talent Agency has named Marty Diamond the Head of Global Music, leading the agency’s representation artists worldwide, the company announced today. His personal client roster includes Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Halsey, Janelle Monáe, Sigur Rós, Sara Bareilles, Liam Gallagher, Sia, Lorde, Alessia Cara, Bastille, Snow Patrol, Jess Glynne and Vance Joy. Diamond will head Paradigm’s [...]

  • View Conference Opens Registration for 2019

    2019 View Conference Opens Registration, Calls for Short Film Competition Entries

    Registration is now open for the 2019 edition of the View Conference in Turin, Italy. No speakers have been announced yet, but past conferences have featured some of the world’s top creative talents in visual effects, animation, gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. Last year’s edition featured composer Hans Zimmer, Paramount Animation topper [...]

  • Kamala Harris Democratic candidate for US

    UCLA, Howard University Partner on Internship Program to Foster Diversity in Hollywood

    Increased focus on college students may be one way to pave a more diverse future in Hollywood. A new program from the UCLA Anderson School for Management’s Summer Institute at the Center for MEMES (Media, Entertainment & Sports) in partnership with Howard University gives students the opportunity to learn the ropes of the entertainment industry [...]

  • Anne del Castillo Named NYC's Commissioner

    Anne del Castillo Named New York City's Commissioner of Media and Entertainment

    The film and TV industries in New York City have a new boss: Anne del Castillo, who has been tapped by Mayor Bill de Blasio to serve as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Del Castillo had served as general counsel and chief operating officer of MOME since 2015. She succeeds Julie [...]

  • Warner/Chappell Music Names Ryan Press President

    Warner/Chappell Music Names Ryan Press President of A&R for the U.S.

    Warner/Chappell Music has announced the promotion of Ryan Press to president of A&R, U.S. Press, who joined the publisher in 2009, has worked closely with an array of acclaimed songwriters and producers, including Rihanna, Rae Sremmurd, DJ Khaled, Wiz Khalifa, Meek Mill, T-Minus, Tayla Parx, Gucci Mane, Mike Elizondo, Aloe Blacc, The-Dream, Priscilla Renea, Lil [...]

  • Sarah BarnettAMC - SundanceTV 'State of

    Listen: AMC Networks' Sarah Barnett on Finding TV's 'Holy Grail'

    Sarah Barnett’s new job at AMC Networks has her overseeing four cable channels and two streaming platforms. She’s spent the past few months since her promotion to president of entertainment networks adjusting operations, assembling the right team and diving deeper into AMC’s investment in audience research and analytic tools. But none of that work matters [...]

  • Jordan Feldstein

    Beanie Feldstein Writes Touching Tribute to Her Brother, Maroon 5 Manager Jordan

    Actress Beanie Feldstein has written a moving tribute to her late brother Jordan, longtime manager of Maroon 5, who passed away of a heart attack in December of 2017. “It is impossible. Grief is just impossible. It cannot be contained or summarized or enclosed,” the tribute, published in InStyle, begins. “To describe the wound grief [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content