Hong Kong's Mei Ah Entertainment and Guangdong Province Film Corporation have set up a joint venture, Hua Tian Xia Film Distribution, which aims to distribute 20 Chinese-language films a year in the mainland market.

The Guangzhou-based distribution company has been established with capital of $2.9m (RMB20m). It will mainly focus on small-to-mid-budget Chinese-language films, made in Chinese-speaking regions such as mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.

The new company marks Mei Ah's first foray into the mainland film distribution business. It also provides a new marketing platform for smaller-sized Chinese films.

'Lacking marketing and promotional budget is a common problem of many small-to-mid budget films in China. Mei Ah's marketing and distribution resources, such as our movie channels in Hong Kong and Singapore, can make more diverse films available to more audience,' said Charley Zhuo, CEO of Mei Ah's BIG Media Group.

The new firm will form a committee to select suitable films for distribution. 'We are more interested in contemporary works of young Chinese filmmakers,' said Zhao Jun, CEO of Guangdong Province Film Corporation

The new company also signed distribution deals for two films during the Shanghai International Film Festival. They are Here's Shangri-la by Ismene Ting of the Yunnan Series and Knitting by Yin Lichuan, which recently premiered in Directors Fortnight at Cannes.

Mei Ah Entertainment Group produces 10-15 Chinese-language films a year and is one of the major production companies for Chinese movies.

Guangdong Province Film Corporation is a state-owned cinema management company which co-owns China Film Southern Cinema circuit with China Film Group. The circuit's 2007 revenue was $46.38m (RMB320m), ranking it fourth among China 's 34 cinema circuits.

In November 2007, the company set up Chinese Film Union, selecting 50 screens across the country to show exclusively Chinese-language movies.