News Corp buys stake of Chinese film firm
Updated: 2012-05-15

BEIJING - Beijing-based Bona Film Group announced Tuesday that News Corporation has signed an agreement to buy 19.9 percent of its stake.

The Beijing-based private film group, listed in the United States, hopes to expand its market abroad through News Corp's distribution networks in North America and experience in film production, said Yu Dong, Bona's president, in a press release.

News Corp is the parent company of 21th Century Fox.

"We have learnt from Hollywood counterparts to bring in strategic investors," Yu said. "Through the deal, we would like to improve our production and sharpen competitiveness in the international market."

In 2011, Bona produced 15 films, including the 3D "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate" starring Jet Li and "A Simple Life" whose leading actress Deanie Ip won the Best Actress Award at the Venice International Film Festival in 2011.

After being listed in the US, Bona has worked to upgrade its board, reducing stakes held by venture capitalists and introducing strategic investors which will benefit the company in the future, Yu said.

News Corp's investment is considered a move to tap into booming Chinese film market.

China's box office soared by 28.93 percent to 13.12 billion yuan ($2.08 billion) in 2011.

One of Bona's unique advantages is its vertically-integrated business model, which differentiates the company from other film distributors in China, said Jack Gao, News Corp's chief executive for China investments, in the statement.

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