Warner to hold majority stake in a Chinese cinema hall

MUMBAI: Warner Bros International Cinemas (WBIC) has announced that it has become the first Western cinema investor approved to hold majority ownership in a Chinese cinema hall.

Under the new State administration of radio, film and television (Sarft) guidelines, WBIC will hold 51 per cent stake of a joint venture with Shanghai United Circuit for a multiplex cinema in Nanjing.

The guidelines, which became effective on 1 January 2004, lifted the previous ceilings on foreign investment in cinemas in seven cities in China as a pilot programme.

Earlier this month, WBIC had entered into a management and licensing agreement with the Dalian Wanda Group. This is one of China's largest commercial real estate developers. The deal is for Warner Wanda Cinemas to be built in 30 Dalian Wanda shopping centers throughout China over the next few years.

WBIC has further stated that it is waiting for government approval to be a majority partner for a multiplex in Wuhan. This too will be a joint venture with Shanghai United Circuit. The company also has an agreement in principle with Guangzhou Performance for multiplexes in Guangdong province as a majority partner.

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