The seminar was chaired by Avex senior executive director Takashi Araki and SM Entertainment CEO Kim Young Min.
Both representatives outlined their concept of assembling 'Asian Dream Teams', whereby a pan-Asian group of producers, investors and talent would be assembled on a project-by-project basis to produce 'All-Asia Hits'. To illustrate the concept, Kim provided a breakdown of new project Subaru.
Based on is a popular Japanese manga by Masato Soda, Subaru is the story of a young girl who strives to become a professional ballerina. Bill Kong (Lust, Caution) and Avex are on board as producers, with Lee Chi-ngai (Magic Kitchen) writing and directing. One of SM's top actresses is set to star alongside an Avex talent, but names were not divulged. SM and Avex are also jointly handling music.
July release Secret, also produced by Kong and directed by and starring Taiwan 's Jay Chou, was a prototype of the model, with Avex only providing capital. 'We want to move beyond mere investment and contribute talent and ideas,' explained Araki.
While there have been previous pan-Asian co-productions that have failed spectacularly, SM's Kim remained practical: 'Rather than try to introduce something untested into another market, we want to clearly define an existing market segment and then create contents for that, wherever it may be.'
Avex and SM Entertainment's relationship began in 2000 when the two companies signed a bilateral licensing deal to publish recording artists in their respective territories, including Japanese releases of South Korean artist BoA, one of Japan's biggest-selling acts, and Korean releases of Avex artists such as Ayumi Hamasaki, Namie Amuro and Koda Kumi. In 2004, Avex bought a 5.81% stake in SM Entertainment to further its expansion into South-East Asia.
Recording giant Avex entered the feature film arena in 2005 and has invested in high-profile productions including Vexille and Genghis Khan, which featured SM Entertainment talent Ara. Avex also distributes foreign films in Japan such as recent release The Queen.
Most recently, Avex became a key investor in John Woo's in-production Red Cliff, the most expensive Asian film ever made and which features Avex signees Shido Nakamura and Koyuki in supporting roles.
Founded in 1994 by Lee Soo Man, SM Entertainment became Korea 's largest music label and now has interests in karaoke (SM Bravo), internet contents (SM Online) and Japan and China branches under SM Asia. SM Pictures was established this June to produce motion pictures.
Both companies spoke of the huge potential of the Chinese market in the next ten years, predicting it will become the highest earning territory in the continent.