Taiwan-based billionaire Terry Gou isinvesting $200m to build a film studio in northwest China. Gou announced theproject on a visit to his ancestral hometown of Jinchengin Shanxi province, near to where the new studio isplanned in Zhezhou county. Upto 40% of the investment is expected to come from local government loans.
Terry Gou is chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (FoxConn),an original equipment manufacturer that he founded in 1974. Their chinese factories build products includingApple's iPod.
Gou, whose personal wealth is estimated at$4.3b, is also personally backing the $10m budget of historical epic The SilverValley, the true story of a family of banking merchants in Shanxi province.
Gou's family is no stranger to the moviebusiness. Earlier this year, Terry Gou's brother Gou Tai-chiangacquired a majority stake in Taiwan's oldest film studio, the Central MotionPicture Corporation (CMPC). Terry Gou's son, Jeff Gou, co-founded Cherry SkyFilms in Los Angeles in 2001 and Serenity Entertainment International in Taipeiin 2005. Serenity fully-financed and distributed action-comedy Catch,Taiwan's highest grossing local film at the box office in 2006.
The Gou family's separate investmentsreflect a broader trend in Taiwan of technology companies' involvement in film.BenQ, best known for its mobile phones division, hasinvested in Double Edge Entertainment and through them animation company CGCGInteractive. Optical disc manufacturer CMC MagneticsCorp launched CMC Entertainment with interests in production, distribution andexhibition as well as its own talent agency. CMC's $6m supernatural-thriller Silkscreened at Cannes and opens domestically on Sept 29.