Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016

Can Legendary acquisition help build China’s soft power?

By Shan Renping (Global Times)    10:57, January 13, 2016

(File photo)

Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group on Tuesday acquired Legendary Entertainment, the Hollywood production company, for $3.5 billion. The deal represents the largest cross-border acquisition in cultural sector to date made by a Chinese enterprise. Thomas Tull will remain on board as Legendary's chairman and CEO. He said he is greatly honored to be part of Wanda.

Leading entertainment group Wanda has already acquired the second-largest movie theater chain in the US and Australia. It is an inevitable trend that the giant will transform from a downstream movie broadcasting service provider to an upstream blockbuster producer.

The acquisition of Legendary, first of all, is a result of Wanda's own development. It will help optimize the enterprise's industrial structure, boost its competitiveness and increase its profits. If Wanda, through expanding strength and influence, could bring along an improvement in China's movie production capability and produce more high-quality blockbusters, it will contribute to the country in a way.

The idea that the acquisition will enable Wanda to exert a direct impact on the image of China in Hollywood blockbusters, making Legendary produce more propaganda works about China is too simple.

Wanda faces more risks in buying Legendary than in acquiring a cinema chain. It not only needs to offer Legendary capital, most importantly, it also has to assure the movie production company can produce more globally acclaimed box office hits. It will be laudable if Chinese movie production capabilities could be enhanced during the process. But this should not be the primary expectation for Wanda.

Soft power is a delicate thing. The way in which China builds its soft power and influences the world is different from that of the US. We cannot be too hasty. The urgent priority now is to promote the sound development of Chinese companies that have participated in international competition.

Hollywood movie companies now have begun to pander to the Chinese market. Positive China factors have been found in blockbusters such as The Martian, Gravity and the James Bond series. They have taken Chinese audiences' feelings into account. This is a result of market forces. However, China still has a long way to go to build its own soft power. Companies like Wanda are pioneers on the road of China's modernization and they deserve more encouragement. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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