How Huayi Brothers Started Playing Games

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Huayi Brothers has been making movies since 1994 and produced the three top-grossing Chinese films. Over time, they have starred 100 top entertainment celebrities including Xun Zhou, Angelababy, Kun Chen, Zhao Wei, and Shu Qi. The Huayi Brothers have been one to watch since their IPO price doubled in 2009, and are now worth in the region of US$7.9 billion. However Business Insider reports they are becoming increasingly interested in tiny screens.

Huayi Brothers Diversifies Into Three Groups

Huayi BrothersWhen the Huayi Brothers announced they were ‘leaving the film studio’ in 2014 the industry took this to mean they were finished with the silver screen. Instead, it meant they were diversifying into three departments, namely film & television, brand licensing & live entertainment, and online entertainment.

“Huayi Brothers listed five years ago, so we’re just in time for this stage where the Internet in China is exploding,” explains Wang Zhongjun, Huayi Brothers chair. “So now we have this huge business area, online entertainment.” He must be smiling. In the first quarter of 2015, online entertainment grossed 66.65% of total income, representing 14,000 times growth year on year.

How the Brothers Diversified Up and Down the Chain

The brothers have invested in movie theatre projection, merged with online ticket platform Maizuo.Com, and bought a stake in Baofeng Magic Mirror’s virtual reality technology. However Huayi Brothers real growth comes from gaming revenue, although accurate numbers are unknown because this reports in financially under online entertainment.

Having hugely improved online liquidity, Wang Zhongjun went on record as saying: “I look forward to Huayi’s game business joining the troika of film, talent management, and television to become the fourth horse pulling our carriage”. He went on to seal 360 million Yuan’s worth of private placements with Alibaba, Tencent, and Ping. These now hold 8%, 8%, and 2% of shares in Huayi Brothers respectively.

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Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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