Orb Media Group has launched a Chinese-language and China-based production and financing entity and announced a multi-pronged collaboration with fantasy martial arts writer Shiao Yi.

“This is truly a special day for us on many levels,” said Orb founder and CEO Peter Shiao (pictured, at right). “We are very excited to enter the world of Chinese-language films in a comprehensive way.”

Ironpond was the name of Shiao’s last venture, which was the first private equity-style fund for films in China in partnership with the China Film Group.

Longtime Chinese media executive Chen Yuling, formerly of Phoenix Film Group and Zebra Media, has been named executive in charge of Ironpond and is based in Beijing.

Orb Media Group plans to make projects that will be accessible to non-Chinese audiences around the world.

“After a lifetime of conversations and several years in development, the time has ripened for my father, Shiao Yi and Orb and me to work together,” said Shiao. 

“We are in a unique position to deliver the next generation of martial arts/fantasy films that will at once be post-modern and classic for die-hard fans and youth audiences. Taking the genre to its spiritual and philosophical roots with visual flair and Hollywood level execution will be a special aim.” 

The initial line-up of films includes a new TV interpretation of The 19th Assassin and the first instalment of the Immortal Sword series. Each project will be in the $30m range and will be financed by Orb Media Group and other strategic investment partners including the Strategic Bang Group of Shanghai and China Mainstream Media Fund of Beijing.

Ironpond will also actively mine and manage the Shiao Yi library of books across a range of media including TV, games, graphic novels and digital products.

“It is very heartening, after all these years, to be working with my son,” said Yi (pictured, at left). “We have forged our own paths in our careers and they have finally merged. I have stayed true as a creator in the martial arts and fantasy genres which I still love.

“Peter has blazed his own path as a pioneer in the world of Hollywood-China collaborations and is now at the crossroads of a new global market. I believe what we are doing now will be a high point for both our careers. Personally, I am excited about this next chapter which is to create genre lifting films that will pave a new direction in this style of stories and films that I have spent over 50 years in shaping.”

Shiao added: “I am excited about re-christening the Ironpond name and brand and bringing it back into the mix as a specialty label.”