By Huang Ying
BEIJING, Oct. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Imax Corp and Shenzhen-based TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Ltd, one of the world's leading consumer electronics manufacturers, plan a 50-50 joint venture that will focus on the home entertainment market in China, the companies said on Wednesday.
The joint venture will be involved in designing, developing and manufacturing premium home theaters. The investment amount wasn't disclosed.
The new systems will offer a more accessible and versatile solution that complements the Imax Private Theater, which is the giant-screen company's recent entry into the ultra-high-end private home-theater market.
The systems will incorporate components of Imax's projection and sound technologies.
The joint venture will initially operate in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, and it will have departments for research and development, sales, marketing and production.
Current theatrical content will be delivered to homes through United States-based Prima Cinemas Inc's secure transmission system. Imax acquired a stake and a significant option position in Prima the day before signing the agreement with TCL Multimedia.
"Our recent introduction of the cinema-grade Imax Private Theater, the partnership with Prima and, now, our joint venture with TCL, are all parts of our carefully designed effort to expand the Imax brand to additional platforms," said Imax Chief Executive Officer Richard L. Gelfond.
"While we are very excited about these opportunities, we remain firmly committed to our critical, long-term relationships with our commercial exhibition and studio partners, and to the success of the cinema industry in general."
"As content viewing in the home is constantly improving, we wanted to stake out an entirely new position in the premium home theater market," said Li Dongsheng, chairman of TCL Group, the parent company of TCL Multimedia.
The two companies are also in discussions with local content providers.
Most of the new home theater systems will initially be sold on the Chinese mainland. Markets in Russia, North America and the Middle East will be added, after which will come the Latin American and European markets, said Hao Yi, chief executive officer of TCL Multimedia, according to aastocks.com.
"This deal mainly involves cooperation in technology because these two parties are generally equipment manufacturers," said Shao Gang, deputy director of consulting for the entertainment industry at Horizon Research Consultancy Group.
The quality of the viewing experience on the new system will be its major competitive advantage in comparison with other video-viewing channels, including online video websites and 3-D smart televisions, said Shao.
"Since Imax has built its renown in the giant-screen market in China, it would be easier for it to expand its business to a new area in the market, even though it has a number of competitors in the home entertainment sector," said Guo Xiaoping, a senior research analyst covering the culture and media industry with Nan Hai Corp Ltd.
(Source: China Daily)