Anhui Xinke New Materials, a Chinese company that specializes in copper processing, has acquired Hollywood firm Voltage Pictures for $350 Mn. This acquisition gives the Chinese company 80% stake in Nicholas Chartier’s firm. Voltage Pictures is known for making over 150 features, including Oscar-winners The Hurt Locker and Dallas Buyers Club.
The acquisition of Voltage Pictures is in continuation of growing Chinese influence in Hollywood. Other notable Chinese companies that have a stake in Hollywood include Alibaba, Wanda, and Tencent. In a bid to gain a foothold in the media sphere, Anhui Xinke New Materials had earlier set up a wholly-owned subsidiary, Wotaiji International Media.
Experts are looking at these increasing spate of investments as a sign of China’s global ambitions. Chinese business houses with no links to sports or entertainment are using their soft power to diversify their investments. Dick Clark Productions, the firm behind iconic events such as the Golden Globe and Miss America, was acquired by China’s Dalian Wanda Group.
Hollywood has remain an attractive investment option for global behemoths, and companies from Japan, India, and France have been regular investors for the last two decades or so. Now, the Chinese business houses, buoyed by favorable government policies, are testing the waters in Hollywood. China’s unsatiable appetite for entertainment is propelling the domestic real-estate and entertainment sector, with multiplex construction growing despite a slowdown in the economy.
While the Chinese investment in Hollywood is a welcome sign, the history is against it. Foreign investments and ownership in Hollywood hasn’t been a no-jerk success story. Billion dollar acquisitions have boomeranged and companies have had to write off bad loans. From Sony’s acquisition of Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures to Vivendi of France, foreign ownership of Hollywood studios has ended up badly. However, experts are of the opinion that it could be different because of the huge demand for entertainment in the world’s most populous nation. Also, the Chinese have built a reputation in Hollywood for being strategic with their approach. Whether the recent spate of investments will turn out to be as good as experts are claiming remains to be seen.