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Big picture looking better for Poly Film

By Huang Ying | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-19 07:42

Poly Film Investment Co Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of State-owned Poly Culture Group Corp Ltd, formally introduced its internally developed Imax projection system, known as PolyMax, on Tuesday at the 16th Shanghai International Film Festival.

Poly hopes the system will challenge industry giant IMAX Corp.

About 10 theaters owned by Poly have been equipped with PolyMax screens. The theaters are in various cities, including Beijing and Shenzhen, according to Liu Jianfeng, director of public affairs at Poly Film Investment Co Ltd.

Yao Zongchao, general manager of product research and development at Poly, said: "We have achieved a large amount of innovation in technology, and these advances were made on the basis of our years of experience in theater construction and our advantages."

"For example, the ultra-short, high-definition focal lens we developed allows the requirements for the construction of theaters to be eased," Yao said.

"This means that we can screen a high-definition movie in a comparatively narrow space," he added.

Before the introduction of the PolyMax system, the company spent 14 months carrying out technological improvements from the previous version.

For IMAX Corp, China remains a fast-growing component of its global business.

It completed the installation of its 100th screen in China last year, a point that it took about 10 years to reach. Most of its growth came after the screening of the blockbuster Avatar in 2010.

The number of IMAX screens in China stood at only 18 in 2008. However, the burgeoning film market and the increasing demand for Imax movies in China have driven other Chinese companies to enter the giant-screen market.

For example, in 2011, China Film Co Ltd and the China Research Institute of Film Science & Technology introduced the China Giant Screen, a Chinese version of the Imax screen, after a three-year period of research and development.

According to the Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2013-17 released by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers, China's spending on the movie and entertainment market will grow from $3.26 billion in 2012 to $6.49 billion in 2017.

Box office revenues are expected to reach $5.5 billion in 2017.

National ticket sales reached 17.07 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) last year, up 30.2 percent year-on-year, according to official statistics.

IMAX Corp's global revenue reached $284 million in 2012, up 20 percent year-on-year.

In the first quarter of this year, China contributed $11 million of the $50 million in the company's revenue worldwide, up 58 percent. That was the fastest growth rate in the world, according to the company's financial reports.

China's share of IMAX Corp's global revenue rose from 4 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2012.

Speaking of the advantages of PolyMax over IMAX, Ge Lanlan, general manager of the operating technology department at Poly, said the cost of PolyMax is about half that of the IMAX.

An IMAX system costs more than 10 million yuan just for the equipment, excluding maintenance.

Liu said she hoped PolyMax can enter more theaters, not just Poly's own cineplexes.

Poly Film Investment Co has 68 theaters nationwide, and plans to invest in 23 theater construction projects this year.

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