Chinese investors are also beginning to explore overseas opportunities. By Sen-lun Yu
While most Chinese companies are busy exploring their local market, some Chinese investors have begun to reach out to the international market, particularly to Hollywood companies or projects.
In September 2010, the Hong Kong-listed Chinese company Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment (OSGH) entered into a deal with Legendary Pictures to acquire a 3.3% stake of the company for $25m. It marked the first time a Chinese company has bought a stake in a Hollywood outfit. The two outfits agreed to jointly develop Chinese-language films, as well as online, mobile and video games, and also agreed to work together on film distribution in China.
According to Chen Xiaowei, chief executive of OSGH, Legendary Pictures’ titles are very suitable to adapt into games, or are already adapted from games, which is the main reason for the company’s involvement. And as Legendary Pictures has also planned to develop its films into games, this gave the two companies an instant strategic match.
China’s advertisers are also looking to product placement opportunities in Hollywood blockbusters. In mid-2008, Meters/bonwe, a Chinese leisure clothing brand, planted its brand and logo in Paramount’s Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. The partnership also included tie-in promotion, in-cinema marketing for both brands and Transformers merchandise.
During the film’s release, Meters/bonwe’s Revenge Of The Fallen t-shirts were so popular that a single branch sold more than 10,000 items a day, according to Beijing-based entertainment marketing company Filmworks, which handled the deal.
The success of Meters/bonwe’s product placement deal has brought in more Chinese advertisers for the latest Transformers film. According to Sirena Liu, general manager of Filmworks, which represents DreamWorks on integrated marketing and merchandise in China, four Chinese advertisers are participating in Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, including clothing, food, beverages and electronics brands. This time, some of the tie-in promotions and TV commercials will take place in international markets.
“We believe there will be a rapid growth in this area,” Liu says, noting there are another four Chinese advertisers interested in similar integrated marketing deals with films from DreamWorks.