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Chinese Firm to Be Top Cinema Owner

James Hirsen By Tuesday, 29 May 2012 04:05 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Coming soon to a theater near you, in 3-D, a Chinese communist-owned multiplex.

The Dalian Wanda Group, a Chinese firm, is set to become the biggest cinema owner on the face of the planet.

The company will pay approximately $2.6 billion for AMC Entertainment Holdings, one of the top movie theater chains in the world. The Kansas City-based entity is the second largest cinema company in North America. In the U.S. and abroad, it owns or operates more than 5,000 screens and is the biggest operator of IMAX and 3-D facilities.

The entertainment-related acquisition represents the largest purchase of any American company by a Chinese entity.

“We made a goal to build Wanda into a top notch international company,” Wang Jianlin, chairman and president of Wanda, said at a launch ceremony in Beijing.

“This acquisition will help make Wanda a truly global cinema owner, with theaters and technology that enhance the moviegoing experience for audiences in the world’s two largest movie markets.”

Mainstream media outlets are characterizing Wanda as a typical privately owned firm that is acting as a conventional player in the free marketplace. However, there are some disturbing indications that this may not be the case.

The Dalian Wanda Group is a subsidiary of China National United Oil Corporation, which is primarily owned by two state-controlled energy entities, the Sinochem Corporation and the China National Petroleum Corporation.

The aforementioned Jianlin, who heads the company, was a former officer in the People’s Liberation Army, the military arm of the Communist Party of China (CPC). He served as a deputy to the 17th National Congress of the CPC and is vice-chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, according to Bloomberg.

The purchase of AMC is, to a significant extent, being financed by China government-owned banks, as reported by The New York Times.

Wanda has pledged to invest an additional $500 million into the theater chain.

Industry insiders are mystified as to why a company would want to invest more than $3 billion in a market that appears to be shrinking and in a theater chain that for several years in a row has lost money.

The unsettling thing to contemplate is whether the Chinese acquisition has something to do with a desire on the part of the communist country to gain significant influence over the USA’s largest export, the content of which is one of strongest forces impacting our nation’s culture.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax.TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.

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Tuesday, 29 May 2012 04:05 PM
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