China's Wanda Group Becomes Second Largest Stakeholder of South Korea's Dexter Studios

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Wanda's Wang Jianlin

The Chinese giant bought a $10 million stake in the South Korean VFX firm, marking the latest headline-making collaboration between the two Asian countries' closely knit film industries.

Dalian Wanda Group, China's biggest real estate company and the world's largest cinema owner, invested $10 million in Dexter Studios to become the second largest stakeholder of the South Korean visual effects firm, Dexter Studios announced on Thursday.

The investment by Wanda Group was finalized on April 1 through Bejing-based Prometheus Capital, which is run by Wang Sicong, son of Wanda Group head Wang Jianlin. The senior Wang is known to be the limited partner of the fund.

This is the first time Wanda Group is investing in a Korean VFX company.

Dexter Studios is a leading firm in the industry, and has been behind regional hit films such as the CG-heavy 2014 local hit The Pirates, the Korea-China co-production (Showbox/Mediaplex and Huayi Brothers) Mr. Go, and Tsui Hark's Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (a.k.a. Detective Dee 2). It set up a production facility in Beijing in late 2013 to tap into the world's fastest growing film market.

In recent years the film industries of the two Asian countries have grown closer than ever.

Wanda Group has been actively investing in the Korean film industry. Last year Wang signed a memorandum of understanding with Busan, the Korean host city of Asia's largest film festival, and pledged to create a joint film fund amounting to about $180 million. It also inked a deal with CJ CGV to showcase Korea's 4DX cinema technology in Chinese theaters.