• Kyodo

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Yoshimoto Kogyo Co., Japan’s leading entertainment production house, said Thursday it plans to produce about 20 movies over the next three years with Hong Kong firms, targeting markets in China and other Asian countries.

Hiroshi Osaki, a Yoshimoto director, told a news conference in Hong Kong that the company hopes to tap the lucrative Chinese market through its cooperation with Hong Kong companies.

“Looking at the industry in Hong Kong, it has excellent movie directors, and the moviegoers are of high quality,” he said. “As we establish relationships in Hong Kong, we can make excellent movies for other Asian countries, including China.”

Osaki said his company is also exploring television production opportunities in China.

“I’m very glad that there are mainland Chinese companies approaching us about drama series in China and other cooperative endeavors,” he said.

Osaki expressed confidence in the company’s planned Hong Kong production despite the declining state of the territory’s movie sector, with local box-office receipts slumping to record lows in the July-August period this year.

“The same could be said about the Japanese movie industry,” he said. “During its long history, it has sometimes had its down periods. But this year there are signs of it going up.”

The Japanese executive said he has been in discussion with some Hong Kong film production companies, with one firm being in an advanced stage of talks on cooperation. But he declined to give details.

Depending on each film production, he said, investment could be made in different forms, such as by Yoshimoto alone or through its related companies, including Hong Kong-based Rojam Entertainment Holdings Ltd. which aims to become the leading music content provider in Asia.

Yoshimoto has become the second-largest shareholder of Rojam after getting 28.94 percent of Rojam’s enlarged share capital in return for its sale of 80 percent equity in its popular music arm R&C Japan Ltd. to the Hong Kong-based company Thursday.

Osaki said he expects the deal with Rojam, which is gaining a foothold in China, will bring good business opportunities for Yoshimoto given the immense potential of China’s consumer market.

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