Major South Korean exhibitor Lotte Cinema is set to launch its first theatre in mainland China.

An affiliate of major Korean distributor Lotte Entertainment, the exhibitor will open a multiplex tomorrow (Dec 18) in Shenyang. The city is Northeast China’s biggest, and the capital of Liaoning Province.

As a Korea-China joint venture, the new multiplex is called Lotte & NN Cinema. It has six screens and a total of 757 seats. All the screens are equipped with digital projectors while three of them also have 3D projection.

An important Chinese industrial centre, Shenyang is the transportation and commercial hub of China’s Northeastern region, connecting especially with Russia, Korea and Japan.

Lotte Cinema has been operating theatres in Vietnam since 2008, but this is its first foray into China. The exhibitor plans to open 10 more screens next year in Beijing, Shanghai and other major areas in the country. It also plans to have up to 30 screens in China by 2014.

Leading South Korean exhibitor CJ CGV, an affiliate of leading distributor CJ Entertainment, was the first Korean company to launch into the Chinese exhibition market in 2006. In a territory rampant with piracy, CJ CGV created a niche for itself by branding its theatres as high-end movie-going in deluxe facilities. The company now has five multiplexes in cities around China including Shanghai and Beijing.