China's Wanda to unveil production subsidy at Hollywood event

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 17, 2016 11:21 hrs
Wang and Cerezo arrive for a signing ceremony in Beijing

Dalian Wanda Group plans to announce a 40 percent production subsidy to attract Hollywood filmmakers to its new multibillion-dollar studio in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, a person with direct knowledge of Wanda's involvement said.

Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin is expected to unveil the incentive at an event that he is hosting in Los Angeles on Monday evening.

The production rebate will be jointly funded by Wanda and the local Qingdao government, said the person, who asked not to be identified.

The subsidy will apply to feature films and TV shows. Costs eligible for the rebate include stage and equipment rentals, set construction and local accommodations.

A Wanda spokesman declined to comment.

Wanda's billionaire chairman is building a footprint in Hollywood through a series of deals, part of China's growing investment in the U.S. entertainment industry. The company has bought "Jurassic World" producer Legendary Entertainment and U.S. cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings. Wanda also signed a marketing and co-financing deal with Sony Pictures, a unit of Japan's Sony Corp.

With the Qingdao studio, Wanda will be competing with dozens of U.S. states and countries including Britain and New Zealand that have lured filmmakers out of Hollywood with tax incentives and rebates.

Incentives typically range from 15 percent to 45 percent of certain production costs, according to tax incentive specialists. That puts Wanda's subsidy among the world's highest.

The Qingdao studio is part of a large theme park and real estate development designed to become a Chinese version of Hollywood. The studio will attract at least five films a year with production budgets of more than $100 million, alongside smaller Chinese productions, Wang told Reuters in August.

Dalian Wanda is an entertainment and media conglomerate. Two of its key listed units are Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties and Wanda Cinema Line Corp.