Shanghai Film Group Corporation (SFG), Hong Kong’s Media Asia and Beijing-based Guoli Changsheng have established a joint venture production and investment company, Shanghai Film Media Asia.

SFG president Ren Zhonglun will serve as president of the new company; Media Asia chairman Peter Lam will be vice president, while actor-turned-producer Zhang Guoli will serve as CEO.

In its first year, the Shanghai-based company will co-produce action drama Chen Zhen, about the Chinese folk hero of the same name, with Beijing-based Enlight Media. Donnie Yen will star in the $14.64m (RMB100m) film, to be directed by Andrew Lau and produced by Gordon Chan.

The company is also developing Jia Zhangke’s first period drama, In The Qing Dynasty, a story about intellectuals after the imperial examination was abolished. Johnnie To is producing the film which is being scripted by Han Dong.

Shanghai Film Media Asia also intends to produce two 30-episode TV dramas in its first operating year.

Beijing-based Guoli Changsheng was established in 2005 by actor/director Zhang Guoli, and has previously produced TV dramas as well as Ning Hao’s Crazy Racer (2009) and Ning’s latest road movie Wu Ren Qu, which is currently in post-production.