Imax China Shares Rise 10 Percent in Debut

Imax China

Imax China currently has 251 screens and is building more.

Shares of Imax China rose 10 percent in their debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Thursday as investors bought into the premise that a changing Chinese demographic and a more open economy will bode well for the movie exhibition business.

Imax China was spun out of Imax as a way for investors to make a pure investment in the fast-growing Chinese market. Imax China has 251 screens in that country and will use a portion of the $248 million it raised in the initial public offering to build another 217.

The positive reception to the IPO in China, a rarity for a Hollywood-style entertainment company, left Imax China with a market capitalization of $1.56 billion while the Imax that trades on the New York Stock Exchange sported a market cap of $2.47 billion on Thursday.

China boasts the second largest cinema market after the U.S., though the former is growing much faster than the latter. In the U.S., box office revenue will be around $11.1 billion this year and it will grow at about 4 percent annually through 2019, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. In China, box office revenue will hit $5 billion this year and grow at 15.5 percent annually through 2019.