Los Angeles. Chinese media mogul Bruno Wu unveiled plans Sunday to build a massive production hub, dubbed Chinawood, in Beitang. Beitang is an area of Tianjin, a metropolis in northeastern China.
Wu said his Seven Stars Global Entertainment company is partnering with the government of the Binhai New Area of the city to invest $1.27 billion to finance films and build production facilities in China.
The first phase of construction will consist of 35,000 square meters of offices and will open in October 2012, Wu said.
A dizzying number of Hollywood and Chinese joint ventures have been announced over the last year, as the country has slowly eased back on its strict cap on the number of foreign films it allows to screen in its borders. China with its burgeoning economy and massive population represents enormous opportunities for an increasingly globalized movie business.
However, there have been setbacks. The Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly investigating claims that some movie studios illegally bribed Chinese officials to allow them to screen or produce their films in the country.
Wu said Chinawood will help the country build an infrastructure to produce its own films while providing US investors with a way to work within the tightly controlled Chinese market. Films that are produced by US companies in China are exempt from its import quotas. The country currently allows only 34 foreign-produced films to be shown annually.
In addition, Wu said that Chinawood will offer a distribution and marketing service center, a 3D conversion center and assorted post-production facilities.