Kadokawa Holdings (HD), thecore company of Japan's Kadokawa media group, has announced plans to join with HongKong-based Sun Wah Group to build and manage 20 multiplex cinemas in mainlandChina.

Kadokawa will be the firstJapanese company to enter the Chinese multiplex market with a Chinese partner.

The two partners will soonlaunch a joint venture company that will build and manage the multiplexes, withthe first two opening in Beijingand Qingdao by the end of 2006. Kadokawa will supply Japanesefilms from its group companies.

The new joint venturecompany, Sun Wah Kadokawa, will be headquartered in Hong Kong, with Sun Wah supplying 55% of its $12.9m (HK$100m) capitalisation and KadokawaHD the remainder through its group companies. The president will be dispatchedby Sun Wah.

By the end of 2006, Sun WahKadokawa expects to be operating 44 screens and achieve sales of $14.8m (Y1.7bn)in the 2007 fiscal year.

Sun Wah's business interestsspan several areas including real estate, foodstuff, financial services andmedia. Its media arm is involved in film and TV production, mainland filmdistribution and it already operates a cinema in the Chinese city of Anshan in Liaoning province.

Celebrating its 60thanniversary this year, Kadokawa HD has interests in a wide range of mediabusinesses. Its group companies include Asmik Ace Entertainment, KadokawaPictures and Nippon Herald.