Tencent has become the latest Chinese internet giant with film industry ambitions, announcing plans to produce four to five movies a year.
Tencent, which also owns the WeChat and QQ messaging platforms, plans to leverage its huge online gaming, animation and literature resources to compete with China’s two other internet giants – Alibaba and Baidu – which already have film units.
Among the first projects is a film version of the QQ race car online game, which has 3 million users. The company will also adapt Nobel Prize-winning writer Mo Yan’s novel The Treasure Map for the big screen, possibly with Hollywood input. Production on the new slate is expected to start in the first half of 2016.
“We have seen the potential of China’s film industry,” Tencent vice president Cheng Wu told local publication 21st Century Business Herald.
Tencent previously invested in Roco Kingdom, a series of animated features adapted from its popular online game.
Alibaba, which launches its record-breaking IPO in New York today, hired former China Film executive Zhang Qiang to head its Alibaba Motion Pictures division, following its acquisition of ChinaVision Media Group earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Baidu-owned online video platform iQiyi announced in July the launch of iQiyi Pictures. The new production outfit plans to co-produce seven local films and one Hollywood movie in 2015.