Japan's Avex Group has agreed to acquire a 20% stake in the holding companyof Beijing-based talent agency and production house, Chengtian EntertainmentGroup.

The two companies also planto establish a joint venture, Avex China, with dates to be announced. Two undisclosed US companies have also acquired a combined 5% stake inthe British Virgin Islands-based holding company, Chengtian Entertainment Group(International) Holding Company Ltd, which now owns capital of $180m.

The move should enable Avexto "share the development of China's entertainment market," said Avex CEO Araki Takashiin a statement. "China is now the market with the most potential."

Beijing ChengtianEntertainment Group was established in September 2005 with four entertainmentbranches: Chengtian Shiba Artist Management, Chengtian Zhihong TV & FilmProduction, Chengtian Huayin Music Production and Chengtian Zhiyin MusicalsProduction.

Chengtian Shiba, headed byformer Huayi Brothers executive Wang Jinhua, has grown quickly to become one ofthe biggest artist management companies in mainland China, representing artistssuch as Xia Yu (The Painted Veil), HuJun (Everlasting Regret) and HongKong's Tony Leung Ka-fai and Carina Lau.

Avex represents Japaneseartists such as Amuro Namie, Tetsuya Komuro, Ayumi Hamasaki and Korea's BoA and Rising Sun. The company has also recently investedin films such as Initial D and Confession Of Pain with Hong Kong's Media Asia and Genghis Khan biopic Blue Wolf: To The End Of The Earth And Sea.