Korean producer-distributor MK Pictures has announced that the first multiplex to emerge from its joint venture with Beijing-based Poly Group will open in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou on Jan 26.

The six-screen multiplex, known as the 'MK Poly Cinema - Zhengzhou ', has already been through a month of test operations starting last December. One of the screens has been set up as a deluxe VIP screen.

Last April, MK Pictures partnered with the state-owned Poly Group to establish Beijing Poly & MK Cinema Co and the 'MK Poly Cinema' brand. The joint venture also plans to open a nine-screen theatre in Shenzhen in May.

MK Poly Cinemas will also operate a nine-screen multiplex in the city of Chongqing after completing the acquisition of an existing Poly Group-operated cinema.

The joint venture plans to open five more cinemas - with a total of 45 screens and 9,000 seats - in central locations in Beijing and Shanghai by the end of 2008.

MK Pictures has previously announced that the joint venture plans to acquire 40 cinemas with 320 screens within five years and account for 10% or more of the Chinese box office. 'We also have a goal to take Beijing Poly & MK Cinema Co public in 2013,' the company said.

With a 2.4% market share in Korea last year, MK Pictures ranked tenth in KOFIC's survey of distributors. Its biggest hit was the action thriller Bloody Tie, starring Ryoo Seung-bum and Hwang Jung-min, which clocked up two million admissions.

The MK Poly Cinema - Zhengzhou opening will be a red carpet affair attended by high-ranking executives from Poly Group and MK Pictures, as well as celebrities from both China and Korea.