India's Pyramid crosses over to China

Opens a two-screen cinema in Huainan

NEW DELHI -- Pyramid Saimira Theatre has become the first Indian theatrical chain to move into China, opening the Longzhe Theatre Entertainment Tower in Huainan, a coal city of 2.3 million people in the central Anhui Province.

Chennai, India-based Pyramid, operator of 53 multiplexes and 800 screens in India, Malaysia, Singapore and North America, opened the new Chinese cineplex Wednesday after an agreement signed in March with the Chinese Ministry of Culture.

Pyramid, which plans to expand to 2,000 screens worldwide by 2010, opened the two-screen, 290-seat cinema through a joint venture with Longzhe Culture and Theatre, based in neighboring coastal Jiangsu Province.

The Huainan complex, which includes gaming and a food court, opened with John Woo's war epic "Red Cliff."

"This cinema is one in a series of six more entertainment towers, which we plan to launch by December," Jiangsu Pyramid Longze Group COO Subha Venkat said.

The next, planned for a November opening, is a four-screen theater in Liyang, Jiangsu.