SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co will help market movies of Sony Corp's film unit in China under a deal that will also see them co-finance some projects, including Sony Pictures' upcoming movie releases in the world's second largest economy.
China's richest man Wang Jianlin, who started Wanda as a property developer in China's northeast and now operates malls and cinema chains in China, has said he wants to turn Wanda into a global entertainment giant, and bring Hollywood technology and capabilities to China.
The alliance with China's biggest theater chain owner will help Sony Pictures to better access a rapidly growing yet restricted movie market, which is on track to surpass the United States as the world's biggest by as soon as next year.
Wanda said in a statement on its website on Friday that the tie-up would use its consumer-facing infrastructure to bolster Sony Pictures' presence in China.
"The Chinese market for Hollywood films continues to boom, and this alliance gives a huge boost to our ability to connect directly with its audiences," said Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures.
Wanda declined to provide further details on the deal. Sony was not immediately available to comment.
Reuters reported last month that Wanda was expecting to seal two billion-dollar film-related deals in the United States this year after acquiring two non-production film companies.
Other Chinese companies are also investing in Hollywood. These include Fosun International, which invested in Studio 8, a production company started by former Warner Brothers executive Jeff Robinov, and Huayi Brothers Media Corp, which is producing films with STX Entertainment, a studio that Chinese private equity company Hony Capital holds a stake in.
(Reporting by Jackie Cai and Brenda Goh; Additional Reporting by Makkiko Yamazaki in TOKYO; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)