Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 15-08-2011

Asian Private Equity Firm SAIF Partners, IDG China Media and Relativity Media have formed a partnership to develop, produce, distribute and acquire Chinese content with worldwide appeal.

This latest deal comes hot on the heels of a strategic partnership by SAIF with the Huaxia Film Distribution Company—who distributed Harry Potter, Transformers, Kung-Fu Panda, Fast Five, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, 2012, Alice in Wonderland, Sherlock Holmes in China—and will see Relativity Media act as a partner of SkyLand Film and Television Cultural Development, a fully-funded, vertically-integrated film and multimedia production, distribution and financing company formed by SAIF and IDG over two years ago.

SkyLand is also partnered with a China-based RMB fund to co-invest in local film and television content and production. This is beloved to be worth $100 million US dollars. The new partners are confident that SkyLand is on track to grow into a competitive production and distribution entity at the forefront of American and Chinese entertainment and media. SkyLand was and has been very active in and at the forefront of the Chinese film and television business.

Under the terms of the deal, Relativity will now have a stake in the partnership and SkyLand will serve as the platform for its future China film proposition. Through the venture, the company will distribute all of its future films in China, including Immortals, Haywire, Act of Valor, Relativity’s Untitled Snow White Project, and The Raven, through SkyLand.

“China is the fastest-growing film market in the world, with over 6,000 screens and over $1.5 billion in box office revenue last year, an increase of over 60% last year alone. We’re excited to be entering into this booming market with such great partners in SAIF, IDG and our new strategic partnership with Huaxia. Given the substantial platform created by SAIF and IDG in SkyLand, we believe together we can grow a distribution business in China which brings global product to China, and brings Chinese product to the global market,” explained Relativity’s CEO, Ryan Kavanaugh.

Andy Yan, Managing Partner of SAIF and a large investor in SkyLand and Relativity added: “The China entertainment industry has become one of the fastest and most lucrative industries in China today. Until now, there has been a major void in bridging the two worlds of the American and Chinese film industries. After spending significant time learning about Relativity's business and how they approach the international markets, we couldn't be more pleased to have entered into what will undoubtedly be a revolutionary shift in the China film business as we know it. Relativity's business model has revolutionised the film business in the US, and this partnership will do the same for China.”