Exhibitor Wanda Group, owner of Wanda Cinema Circuit, is to enter the film production business in 2008.

The group will invest $28m (RMB200m) in building a media and entertainment arm, including plans for a 4500-acre film studio in its home base of Dalian City.

According to Wanda Group president Wang Jianlin, the new business is developing several projects with the first feature-length film expected to start by the end of this year.

Wanda is also setting up a film school in Dalian to develop film professionals.

Wanda, the Dalian-based real estate enterprise entered film exhibition business in 2004 and has become the top 4 cinema circuits in China, owning 29 cinemas and 200 screens in 22 cities in China.

Wanda Cinema Circuit ' s 2007 revenue is $46m (RMB325m), accounting for 11% of total box office revenue in 2007. Wanda established its distribution department last year, distributing war film Night Attack with China Film Group Corporation.

China produces 402 films in 2007 but only less than one thirds of the films were released by the country ' s cinemas. ' Cinema owners have been experiencing the lack of films and the main reason for us to enter film distribution and production is to solve such a problem, ' said Chen Guowei, VP of Wanda Cinema Circuit.