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Tencent launches two competing film factories

Wendy Tang

Thirty Sun, Vice President of Tencent

Chinese web portal giant, Tencent, is reshaping its video and publishing businesses by launching two film companies and integrating its existing game, video and online properties.

Tencent Interactive Entertainment Group (IEG), is launching a new film company, Shanghai Tencent Film Cultural Communications today.

Yesky News reported earlier Chinese movie theater leader, Wanda Media’s Hong Wei, will join IEG’s new movie subsidiary, along with Liu Fuyuan, the director of popular Chinese animated cartoon series, Boonie Bears.

Shanghai Tencent Film Cultural Communication’s business will include movie distribution and industrial investments through mobilizing resources from its game and print properties. In March, Tencent Literature merged with Shanda Literature. Together the two companies own much of the e-book market in China.

Tencent Online Media Group (OMG) last Friday founded Tencent Penguin Pictures. Penguin Pictures’ core business includes network dramas, film investments and talent management much of which it draws from its premier video channel, video.qq.com.

The channel has ambitions to produce content of its own in a manner similar to Netflix. Netflix is known for producing the original series,’ House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Tencent Penguin Pictures plans to invest in 10 to 15 movies a year. It has also announced it will invest in eight different web dramas.

Tencent has been preparing to expand into the film industry with new content and an upgraded platform which it hopes will encourage consumption. In the past, the web portal has participated in numerous movies, including Dragon Blade and Black and White: The Dawn of Justice.

The reason behind Tencent’s interest in investing in movies is because the movie industry in China is growing rapidly, according to Tencent Entertainment. By setting up two movie companies, Tencent strengthens its film content and products to combat its rivals Alibaba and Youku – a popular Chinese video content platform.

“By 2020, the box office of ‘Chinese’ movies could potentially pass 160 billion RMB (US $25 billion), and the box office of Tencent Penguin Pictures’ properties could feasibly pass 20 billion RMB (US $3.1 billion),” Chang Bin, the Director of OMG’s Movie Business said.

(Photo from AllChinaTech)

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