China’s Wanda extends Hollywood footprint with Sony alliance

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China's Dalian Wanda Group is extending its footprint in Hollywood after striking a deal with Sony Pictures.

The strategic alliance opens the door for Wanda to invest in certain productions. Wanda said it would include the co-financing of upcoming high-profile Sony releases in China.

The deal marks the Chinese company's first multi-picture partnership with a major Hollywood studio.

The company wants to boost its influence in the global film industry.

"The alliance will help strengthen Wanda's power to influence the global film industry, and set a good precedent for Chinese film producers in their international investment," the company said in a statement.

As part of the deal, Wanda "will strive to highlight the China element in the films in which it invests".

Past partnerships between Chinese companies and mainstream Hollywood studios were mostly limited to a small investment in a single film.

For Sony Pictures, the deal will give it a greater platform to promote its productions through Wanda's vast digital and physical cinema infrastructure.

Wanda is the world's biggest movie theatre operator, led by China's richest man, Wang Jianlin.

In January, Wanda bought a controlling stake in Hollywood film studio Legendary Entertainment - a deal valued at $3.5bn (£2.4bn).

"As the global film industry continues to explode, Wanda will seek additional strategic alliances with content companies to foster international collaboration," Senior Vice-President, Jack Gao said about the partnership with Sony Pictures.

"This deal furthers our worldwide entertainment strategy as we look forward to positive returns and establishing closer relationships with leading media companies."

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