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Sony Pictures Launches Film Production Venture in China

(November 25, 2004)

Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) and Hua Long Film Digital Production Co., Ltd., of China Film Group (CFG), have formed the first U.S.-Sino television and film co-production joint venture approved by the People's Republic of China's (PRC's) national government, including regulatory bodies the State Administration of Radio, Film & Television (SARFT) and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).  The joint venture, Huaso Film/Television Digital Production Company Limited, will be known as "Huaso," an acronym combining "Hua Long" with "Sony," with CFG holding a majority interest.  The announcement was made today by Michael Grindon, President, SPTI, and Yang Buting, Chairman, CFG.

Huaso has opened offices in Beijing and will be run by a board of directors, with Dandan Zhang recently appointed as General Manager to oversee day-to-day operations.  Huaso currently has a number of Chinese-language projects in development, including light entertainment and sitcom properties, drama series and TV movies, for distribution within and outside the PRC.  This year SPTI will produce television programming in Asia in India, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan.  This joint venture is part of SPTI's larger commitment to increase production capabilities in Asia.

"China Film Group is the preeminent company in the PRC's movie and TV industry, and we are honored to be partners with them in this first-of-its-kind joint venture with national reach," said Grindon.  "We are grateful to SARFT and MOFCOM for approving Huaso and for recognizing SPTI's commitment to the growth of Chinese language television production in the PRC. With Dandan Zhang as Huaso's General Manager, we are excited by the prospect of producing Mandarin language content in the PRC for the people of the PRC and beyond."

"Sony and China Film Group have a long history of co-producing and distributing Chinese films," said Yang.  "Huaso combines the strength and experience of two premier leaders in the filmed entertainment business.  Sony and CFG have grasped an unprecedented opportunity as the Chinese film and TV industry opens up.  This landmark joint venture is one step ahead of the industry, having received SARFT and MOFCOM approvals in July 2004.  For the very first time a Hollywood studio will be co-producing television programming specifically for the PRC and global audiences."

CFG is an established feature film and television production, post-production and distribution company employing 3,200 employees in its various businesses, including the Beijing Film Studio, Movie Channel CCTV-6 (run by CCTV, China's national network and the world's largest TV broadcaster), Huayun Laser Disc Co., and the China Film Equipment Corporation. CFG is the only Chinese company authorized by the Chinese national government to import foreign films.  CFG also owns a cinema chain in China.  SPE has worked with CFG on digital post-production for Chinese feature films, including "Warriors of Heaven & Earth" and "Ultraviolet."

As General Manager of Huaso, Zhang will be responsible for the greenlighting of projects, all staffing and contractual and financial matters. She was most recently Director and Substituting Station Chief of Sun TV in Hong Kong.  Zhang was formerly Vice President of Five Star TV in Hong Kong and Beijing.  She also served as a Producer/Director at Chinese Television Network in Hong Kong, a News Anchor/Producer at Cathay International TV in Canada and was the Editor/Supervisor at the Economic Daily in Beijing.

About Sony Pictures Television International 

Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) operates three complementary lines of business: 1) distribution of Sony Pictures Entertainment's feature films and television programming to television outlets around the world, 2) local television production in key international markets, and 3) international television networks.  In addition to being a leader in the distribution of current and classic U.S. and international films and television product worldwide, SPTI produces high profile, locally produced television in local languages.  With dedicated offices in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Miami (Latin America), Spain and the United Kingdom, SPTI currently oversees production in seven regions.  SPTI's worldwide television networks portfolio is a key strategy in the Company's long-range commitment to the global marketplace, with over 35 networks in more than 100 countries reaching over 240 million viewers worldwide.  SPTI is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.


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