Auckland-based VistaEntertainment Solutions has been granted permission to sell its cinemamanagement software independently in China and has made its first sale to Hong Kong exhibitor MCL's new cinema in Shenzhen.

Vista claims to be the first company offering globallyaccepted financial management and secure reporting systems to gain officialaccreditation from China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television(SARFT).

SARFT has been encouragingforeign investment in China's cinema infrastructure, although exact rules onforeign ownership of cinemas remain unclear. The introduction of softwaresystems such as those offered by Vista could stimulateinvestment in a sector that has been plagued by shaky reporting of box officerevenues.

"Major operators looking toinvest in the Chinese cinema industry are reassured by the financial certaintyour solution provides," said Vista CEO Murray Holdaway.

Hong Kong-based MultiplexCinemas Limited (MCL), a division of Intercontinental Group Holdings, plans toopen a five-screen multiplex in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen this summer. Japan's Kadokawa recently acquired a controlling stake inthe company which operates four sites in Hong Kong and has used Vista systems since October 2000.

MCL plans to open morecinemas in China and has concluded an arrangement with Vista for the supply of its software to these sites.

Vista enables cinema circuits to streamline informationfrom multiple sites and manage box office and concessions pricing, film schedulingand other administrative processes from a head office. It has installations inaround 20 countries including the US, Canada, UK, Hong Kong, Mexico, India and Australia.