Hong Kong's Emperor Multimedia Group (EMG), which is on its way towards becoming one of the territory's major studios has unveiled a new five picture development slate.

The company, which is now wrapping Jackie Chan comedy-action vehicle The Highbinders, has set Swordbearer, a $20m martial arts drama as the next project for Highbinders director Gordon Chan. The Chinese-language film, which is billed as a tale of friendship, honour and duty in ancient China, will shoot in the third or fourth quarter of the year.

Set to roll few months earlier will be Stance, a US-set action feature likely to be directed in English by the legendary stuntman-turned-director Sammo Hung. Hung was most recently responsible for the action sequences in The Highbinders. EMG is seeking European and US co-producers on the picture.

Hung is also understood to be eyeing - but not yet committed to - The Yamato Sea, which is described as 'a swashbuckling martial arts action picture set in the most turbulent era of Chinese history.' The action takes place in Japanese-occupied China at the beginning of the 20th century. Principal photography is tentatively set for summer 2003.

EMG is also developing Highspeed Saitama, a Japan-set car race comedy that will feature a cast of many of Asia's hottest young acting talents; and Half Soul, a romantic drama set in the 1960s during the visit of the Peking Opera to Hong Kong.