China-Dreamworks deal creates Oriental Dreamworks

MUMBAI:In a deal endorsed by China‘s vice-president Xi Jinping, DreamWorks Animation has unveiled a joint venture Oriental DreamWorks with three Chinese companies.

The deal to create the new outfit will have DWA in partnership with China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment Limited to produce films, TV series and other content aimed at the Chinese market.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, DWA chief executive met Jinping this week at a State Department event held in Washington. "It‘s hard to over estimate how big a deal this is for DreamWorks Animation," Katzenberg has been quoted to have said.

"When you look at this in the context of what the world will look like in five to seven years from now, China will be the world‘s number one media market. It will be the largest live entertainment market, the number one consumer products market … so to create a family-branded entertainment company [in China] is an honour for us and a huge opportunity."
The Chinese groups involved in the venture will hold around 55 per cent of the shares in Oriental DreamWorks while DWA will control the rest. DWA said the that the new company would initially be capitalised with cash and intellectual property valued at $330m. Oriental DreamWorks will launch in Shanghai this year.

The scale of the deal makes it the most significant tie up yet between a Hollywood studio and a Chinese partner.

Hollywood studios have been keen to partner with Chinese groups to give them a foothold in China which has been seen upping the number of cinema screens at a rate of about three screens a day.

China is forecast to be the world‘s biggest cinema market within the next decade and touched $2bn in box-office receipts in 2011, a near $400m increase on 2010.

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