Two State-Owned Chinese Movie Studios Plan IPOs

2012-11 FEA Filmart Flying Swords of Dragon Gate H

Tsui Hark's martial arts epic, with rising star Xun Zhou, will screen in the Hong Kong film fest's Panorama section March 24.

China Film Co. and Shanghai Film Group look to raise money as the country continues to support the growth of its homegrown entertainment sector to rival Hollywood.

Two state-owned Chinese film studios are looking for stock listings on Shanghai's stock exchange. The move could help them raise money for productions and technological investments as China continues to support the growth of its entertainment industry to rival Hollywood.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Beijing-based China Film Co. and Shanghai-based Shanghai Film Group Co. have both applied for IPOs, which will require approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission. No financial details and specifics about timing were disclosed.

IPO proceeds would help raise cash for big-budget releases and the acquisition of technology for 3D and other effects, according to the paper. But it also said that critics feel that IPOs wouldn't necessarily boost audiences for homegrown movies as Chinese audiences prefer foreign films and their creative freedom.

China Film was founded in 2010 and has made such films as Flying Swords of the Dragon Gate and Let the Bullets Fly. Shanghai Film is part of Shanghai Media & Entertainment Group. Its movies include Aftershock, a 2010 release about a 1976 earthquake.

Chinese politicians see a strong film industry at home as a way to add to the country's cultural power at a time when it is already the world's second-largest economy behind the U.S., the Journal highlighted. China has been looking to build studios and increase its output to compete with U.S. studios.

Box office revenue from Chinese films accounted for 41 percent of total box office in the country over the first 10 months of the year, Tian Jin, vice minister of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, had said earlier this month. The box office results for Chinese produced films fell 4.3 percent to $434 million during the first half of 2012, according to the Journal.


Twitter: @georgszalai