Sony TV, China Film unveil JV
Updated: 2004-11-25 10:46
The television unit of Japan's Sony Corp. and a division of China Film Group
on Wednesday unveiled a joint venture to make Chinese-language TV shows under a
new Chinese law that allows such co-ventures.
In a statement, Sony Pictures Television International and Hua Long Film
Digital Production Co Ltd, which is part of China Film Group, said the venture
will be known as Huaso. It already is developing comedy and drama series, as
well as TV movies.
Huaso, an acronym combining Hua Long and Sony, will
produce programs for distribution inside and outside the People's Republic of
China, the companies said.
Huaso becomes the first co-venture to take
advantage of a new law allowing foreign companies to own up to 49 percent of a
Chines media firm. Such ventures had been closed to foreigners, but as China
looks to quickly develop digital TV infrastructure, foreign companies are
scrambling to get in.
Back in March, U.S.-based Viacom Inc. announced a
similar deal to make children's programs with Shanghai Media Group, but has
awaited finalization of the new rules.
Until now, only four foreign
media firms have been allowed to operate TV channels in China's tightly
controlled media market, and all four were limited to the affluent southern
province of Guangdong for widespread broadcasts.
For Sony Pictures
Television International, the venture is part of a larger strategy to boost
production capabilities in Asia. This year, it will produce TV programs in
India, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan Province.
Huaso has already
opened offices in Beijing and will be run by a board of directors. Dandan Zhang
was recently appointed as general manager to oversee day-to-day operations.
Zhang was formerly vice president of Five Star TV in Hong Kong and Beijing,
and she served as a producer and director at Chinese Television Network in Hong
China Film Group is a film and TV production and distribution
company with some 3,200 employees.