Shanghai Media andEntertainment Group has unveiled ambitious plans to build a studio andentertainment complex on the outskirts of the city as competition to lure overseasproductions heats up.

Located in Songjiangdistrict in the south-west of the city, the proposed Shanghai Studios Entertainment Citywill encompass full-service production studios - including sound stages andpost-production facilities - a convention centre, hotels and touristattractions, including a theme park.

"We will build a living communityto accommodate both studio crews and tourists and provide the best facilitiesfor filmmakers," said SMEG president Xue Peijian speaking at the ShanghaiInternational Film Festival on Monday.

The state-owned group, whichowns Shanghai Film Studios (SFS), has set aside around $25m to start developingthe 310-acre site which forms part of the city's preparations for the 2010World Expo.

It also plans to renovate ShanghaiFilm Studios' existing Chedun outdoor shooting base - which has housed filmsincluding The White Countess, The Great Raid and Kung-fu Hustle - to form a "golden triangle" with the new base andSFS headquarters in the city.

Xue was speaking at the Sino-European Co-production Forum, organised by the European Producers' Club and China Film Co-production Corp (CFCC), during which the Chinese studios introduced their facilities. The forum also features an informal projects market and one-to-one meetings between European and Chinese filmmakers.

Ang Lee is currently intalks with Shanghai Film Studios about shooting his upcoming Shanghai-set warthriller Lust, Caution in the city.

China is becoming increasingly popular as a location for footlooseinternational producers and Shanghai has hosted many recent productions including Mission: Impossible3 and The Painted Veil.

However, the city has recentlyfaced competition following the emergence of the privately-owned Hengdian WorldStudios four hours south of Shanghai in Zhejiang province. The 25-square-kilometre site, encompassingsound stages and 13 permanent outdoor sets, has hosted big-budget Chineseproductions such as Hero and The Promise but makes most of itsrevenue from tourism.

In addition, China FilmGroup has recently started building a $125m film and TV shooting base in Huairou district in the north of Beijing. China's other two major studio groups - Xian Film Groupand Changchun Film Group - also have plans to upgrade their studio lots.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong is home to the long-gestating Shaw Studios and tiny Macau is also getting in on the act with plans for a 3.65 million square feetcomplex dubbed Studio City.

Jointly developed by Hong Kong's Esun Holdings and the US' Silver Point Capital, the planned Macau complex includes a 4,000-room hotel, shopping centre and casino, in additionto film and TV shooting facilities.