Australian post-production outfit Soundfirm, which has credits including Zhang Yimou's Hero and Moulin Rouge, has established an outpost in Beijing to provide services for both local and international projects.

The Melbourne-based company has a strong track record with Asian film, stretching from Jackie Chan blockbuster Rumble In The Bronx through to He Ping's Warriors Of Heaven And Earth, which is China's official entry for the upcoming Oscars.

The company's Beijing facility has been set up as an official joint venture with Chinese production services company, China Film Assist - which is itself a joint venture between Soundfirm and Beijing-based industry veteran Geng Ling.

"The new facility enables us to offer Chinese film companies a better service. They can do some or all of their sound in Beijing, depending on their budget," said Soundfirm CEO Roger Savage.

In addition, the Beijing outpost will exchange staff with Soundfirm facilities in Sydney and Melbourne, allowing Chinese mixers and editors to learn from their Australian counterparts.

"The quest for quality has become more important as Asian film reaches out to the world," Savage said. "As Asian film companies face the international market, they're finding there's more pressure on the technical aspects of delivery items."

Australia's largest sound post-production house, Soundfirm can also offer picture post-production services through a partnership with Melbourne-based film lab Cinevex. It is also expanding its services to include English-language dubbing.

Soundfirm Beijing's first assignment is South Of The Clouds, directed by China's Zhu Wen, who came to notice at Venice in 2001 with his debut feature Seafood. His second film, about a retired factory cadre who takes off for one last adventure, is backed by Soundfirm and China's Century Hero.