Cinecitta Holding, the state-owned parent company of Rome'sfamous studios, is in talks with the Chinese government to manage what would beItaly's first multiplex in Beijing.

The multiplex to be located in a shopping mall in the city'shistorical centre, will have 14 screens and is due to open at the end of 2005.

Italian culture minister Giuliano Urbani hopes to sign thedeal with Chinese authorities during a trip to China in July. Under the deal,the multiplex will be managed by Mediaport, an exhibition company owned byCinecitta Holding which owns 60 screens in seven Italian cities under the labelCineplex.

The Beijing project is part of a wider collaborationagreement between Italy and China. One initiative will see Italy cooperate withChina to restore the Forbidden City's Hall of Supreme Harmony.

As part of ongoing Italian-Chinese talks, state-ownedItalian company Istituto Luce is also negotiating a co-production deal with theChinese government which will see the two countries team together to produce anItalian film that will be shot in China.

Italian-Chinese co-productions will also be the subject ofan international convention that will be held during the second edition ofItaly's Ischia Global Film and Music Fest (July 11-16) , which is organised incollaboration with Cinecitta and Istituto Luce.