Cannes: China's Huashi TV Acquires Digital Rights to 71 Films (Exclusive)

Cannes Palais General Atmosphere - H 2016
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"Next year, we will probably buy hundreds of movies," says the company's vp of investment.

It's been a busy week on the Croisette for Chinese entertainment and media company Huashi TV. The company has scooped up mainland China's digital rights to some 71 U.S. and European films so far at the Cannes market.  

"Our goal was to acquired 100, which we should reach sometime in the next few days," said Huashi TV's vp investment, Jo Zhang.

Among the titles picked up by the Chinese company is Gaumont's romantic comedy Up for Love, starring Jean Dujardin and currently on release in France.

The company also picked up 11 titles from Arri Media, four movies from Odin's Eye Entertainment, along with buying pictures from Angel Grace Worldwide, Lotus Media, Red Sea Media, Picture Tree, EastWest Film, Parkland Pictures and others.

Founded in 2010 by Chinese entrepreneur Chen Tongang, Huashi acquires digital media rights to Chinese and international film and TV titles — including local rights for DVD, VOD, SVOD, OTT, IPTV, etc. — and licenses the content to China's leading mobile and online platforms, such as Youku, Tencent, LeTV, Sohu and others.

Huashi previously acquired and managed the Chinese digital media rights to Stephen Chow's The Mermaid, the highest-grossing Chinese film ever, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar winner The Revenant, which was co-financed by Chinese company Guangdong Alpha Animation and Culture.

"We bought the rights to Revenant from Alpha, but it's very expensive to buy from Chinese middlemen, so this year we decided to come to Cannes to buy films ourselves," said Zhang. "Next year, I will come back with a team of 10 staff and we will probably buy hundreds of films."

In August, Shenzhen-based electronics maker Jetsen Technology acquired a controlling 80 percent stake in Huashi TV for $515.3 million (3.2 billion yuan). Jetsen is headed by Chinese billionaire Xu Ziquan.