(January 30, 2004 - Burbank, CA) — Warner Bros. International Cinemas (WBIC) has become the first Western cinema investor approved to hold majority ownership in a Chinese cinema under the new SARFT guidelines. WBIC will hold 51% of a joint venture with Shanghai United Circuit for a multiplex cinema in Nanjing. This landmark business deal was made possible by revised ownership guidelines (effective January 1, 2004) issued by SARFT (State Administration of Radio, Film and Television), MOFCOM (Ministry of Commerce) and MOC (Ministry of Culture), which lift the previous ceilings on foreign investment in cinemas in seven cities in China as a pilot program. “We are both grateful and delighted that the Government has approved Warner Bros. International Cinemas as the first Western investor to be allowed majority ownership in a cinema,” said Millard Ochs, President, Warner Bros. International Cinemas. “This is a great honor and we will do everything in our power to be worthy of it by bringing the ultimate movie-going experience to Chinese audiences with state-of-the-art facilities and the finest in international and Chinese films.” Earlier this month (Jan. 17), WBIC marked another milestone in China, entering into a management and licensing agreement with the Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd., one of China's largest commercial real estate developers, for Warner Wanda Cinemas to be built in 30 Dalian Wanda shopping centers throughout China over the next few years. In July 2003, WBIC (as a minority partner with Shanghai Paradise Co.) opened a nine-screen multiplex theater in Shanghai, the Warner Bros.-themed Paradise Warner Cinema City, marking the first time the Chinese government allowed a major U.S. theatrical company to extensively brand an in-country theater. WBIC is further awaiting government approval as a majority partner for a multiplex in Wuhan (also with Shanghai United) and has an agreement in principle with Guangzhou Performance Co. for multiplexes in Guangdong province (as a majority partner). Warner Bros. International Cinemas is a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, which is a division of Time Warner Inc., the world's leading media and entertainment company. Warner Bros. International Cinemas provides a true state-of-art movie experience to audiences around the globe, with more than 70 multiplex cinemas and more than 650 screens internationally, as well as 21 theaters with 123 screens in the U.S. Innovative in design and equipped with the latest technology, Warner Bros. International Cinemas provides the ultimate movie-watching experience to millions of moviegoers visiting Warner Bros. Cinemas each year in Italy, Japan, Spain, Taiwan and China.
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