LONDON: British film studio Pinewood Shepperton, home of the James Bond movies, has signed a joint venture deal with a Chinese media entrepreneur as it seeks to expand its production services into China.
Pinewood, owner of Europe's largest film studio, said on Wednesday it had signed a joint venture with media group Seven Stars, ran by media mogul Bruno Wu.
A sharp rise in box office revenues in China, boosted by an emerging middle class making more trips to the cinema, has encouraged foreign film producers to seek local partners to help them crack the market.
Pinewood's joint venture, Song Lin, will look to make co-productions, run film courses, develop financing for Chinese productions, and create film-themed entertainment venues.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has sought to court emerging nations as markets for British exports, said: “Pinewood is leading the way, taking advantage of China's thriving entertainment and media sector and building on Britain and China's growing trade relationship.”
The move could provide “significant opportunities” for film and television producers in the UK, said Pinewood Chief Executive Ivan Dunleavy.
Pinewood, which also owns studios in Canada and Germany and is building facilities in Malaysia, has been looking overseas to help it compete in the international movie production market.
Its plans last year to build a significant studio expansion at its home in the protected 'green belt' area that surrounds London were rejected by the local council and it has recently submitted a fresh proposal.