China film biz leaps forward

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Key cities in China are adding two screens a day, only one aspect of the tremendous growth of the country's film industry, China Film Group's Han Sanping told a group of executives and bankers in Los Angeles.

Han, chairman and CEO of China's largest producer, distributor, exhibitor and importer of films, told of the state-owned company's progress in internationalizing its business and confirmed that it is going ahead with plans for an IPO. He did not, however, provide details of when the company would seek a listing on China's stock exchange.

The "intimate briefing," held Friday at the offices of law firm Loeb & Loeb, was co-sponsored by the Asia Society Southern California and Ironpond Prods., a U.S.- and China-based company that finances and produces Asian-themed entertainment for the global market.

Ironpond founder and CEO Peter Shiao said that his company is involved in a number of co-ventures with the China Film Group, including Chinese- and English-language co-productions. He said the China Film Group was making "a real push for ancillary market products," including home video and the Internet.

At the briefing, Han offered a view of the new China Film Huairou Studios, a 16-soundstage digital production base scheduled to open this year in Beijing, to which China aims to lure filmmakers from around the world.

Stephen Saltzman, a Loeb & Loeb partner who represents Ironpond, arranged the meeting.
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