China and the Hollywood film industry have engaged with each other for much of the past decade, with both sides slowly discovering the opportunities, learning the limits of cooperation and enlisting different business practices that best adopt this new intel. The relationship is replete with promise, yet still fraught with distrust, as Chinese investors have, with few exceptions, kicked more tires than written big checks. There’s plenty of reason to believe, however, that the entertainment alliance between the two powerful nations will inevitably grow closer and more symbiotic as their respective ambitions continue to coalesce.
Given China’s watchful eye on Hollywood, it is certainly not out of the question that someday a Chinese conglomerate will acquire a U.S. studio.
On the mainland, property and leisure industry giant Dalian Wanda, and Internet behemoths Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent (dubbed “BAT” in the Chinese press) are engaged in a race to change the way the country’s film industry operates. Their business models confound assertions that all Chinese companies are simply copycats of successful Western firms. Instead, they are soup-to-nuts integrators of all the components along the movie life cycle, either through organic growth, acquisition or alliance.