Universal premiering new operations in Beijing
Last Updated: 2014-07-04 08:43 | China Daily
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Universal Pictures is boosting its presence in the world's second-largest movie market and has appointed industry veteran Jo Yan to lead operations in China.

Yan, managing director and executive vice-president of Universal Pictures China, has his first priority to open the company's new office in Beijing . Universal is the last of the six major US moviemakers to establish offices in China.

Yan's duties will include the studio's growing co-production efforts and overseeing theatrical and digital distribution. Universal's Fast & Furious 6 and Illumination Entertainment's Despicable Me 2 were huge hits in China, and the next installments will open here next year, along with Jurassic World.

Yan will work closely with the studio's consumer products group, as well as assist Illumination Entertainment in developing its presence in China and identify companies that can provide animation services.

He also will help establish strategic goals for Universal parent company NBC Universal and Comcast.

"China is one of our most significant international territo ries, and it is imperative that Universal has a strong, well-respected leader as we expand our presence in this region," said Universal Pictures International Distribution President Duncan Clark.

Yan, who will move from Shanghai to Beijing, has spent the past two decades working for the Walt Disney Co. He began his film industry career in 1990 in the Asian regional office of Orion Pictures.

Huang Qunfei, executive vice-president of Huaxia Film Distribution Co Ltd, one of two companies in China authorized to distribute imported movies, said it is natural for foreign moviemakers to want a physical presence in China to facilitate their distribution, co-production and consumer products.

The market has grown bigger each year, creating growing opportunities for imported films and their tie-in products, as well as theme parks.

China's box office grew by 22 percent in the first half of 2014 to reach $2.2 billion. US films Transformers: Age of Extinction and X-Men: Days of Future Past helped imported movies grab more than half the ticket sales in the country.

Walt Disney Co China said that by 2022, Chinese audi ences are expected to spend 100 billion hours experiencing Disney products a year. The company is scheduled to open its Shanghai Disney resort next year.

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