Fledgling Hong Kong studio Celestial Pictures has appointed industry veteran Gordon Cheung as executive vice president of distribution.

Cheung was formerly executive vice president of Hong Kong digital effects house, Centro Digital Pictures, where he was responsible for sales and distribution of the company's own productions. He also spent 10 years at Golden Harvest Entertainment as vice president, distribution, and three years in a similar role at Vestron Pictures in the US.

In his new position, Cheung will oversee sales and distribution of the 760-title Shaw Brothers library along with Celestial's new productions which will be unveiled during Cannes.

In addition, Celestial has appointed Tony Watts, former head of movies at pan-Asian satellite broadcaster Star TV, as head of network operations. The company plans to launch a bouquet of film channels, the first of which, a Chinese-language movie channel, will be rolled out this year.

With backing from Malaysian media empire Usaha Tegas, Celestial is gearing up to become a vertically integrated studio operation with interests spanning production, distribution and broadcast. The company is headed by former Sony TV executive William Pfeiffer and has also tapped leading Hong Kong producer-director Wong Jing to oversee production.