By Leng Shumei
Global Times - 2016/11/14
China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) extended their partnership into the film industry for the first time, as two media companies formed a $300 million fund to invest in movies and television programs produced in China, the UAE and Hollywood. The China Intercontinental Communication Center (CICC) and Image Nation Abu Dhabi on Sunday signed an agreement in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, to establish a film fund worth $300 million, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The partnership is comprised of three core initiatives and the first initiative, a weekly factual entertainment series titled USILK, will be launched to air in January 2017, according to a press release sent to the Global Times by the CICC on Monday. Image Nation aims "to build the foundations of a film and television industry" in the UAE, Michael Garin, chief executive of Image Nation, according to the release. Garin said that the agreement with CICC would also promote an "exchange of talent" between China, the UAE and Hollywood. The agreement builds on a recent $10 billion strategic investment fund launched by China and the UAE last year and is the first extension of that relationship into the media industry, read the release. China and the UAE agreed in December 2015 to set up a major investment cooperation fund worth $10 billion, Xinhua reported. Deng Li, director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of West Asian and North African Affairs, was quoted by Xinhua as saying that the fund would be invested in China, the UAE and third-party markets. The CICC project came amid rocketing Chinese investment in Hollywood in recent years, including property and entertainment giant Dalian Wanda Group's acquisition of leading Hollywood film producer Legendary Entertainment earlier this year and its previous purchase of AMC Theaters in 2012. CICC Vice President Jing Shuiqing was quoted in the release as saying that China and the Arab countries have fostered great friendship through the ancient Silk Road and the Belt and Road initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, and have brought new opportunities for collaboration between China and the United Arab Emirates. In September in a letter to Congress, about 16 US lawmakers raised concerns about Chinese investment in the US entertainment and media industries, calling for an expansion of the government process to review foreign investments in the country, The New York Times reported.