For nearly a century, the Hollywood Sign has served as a welcome beacon of cinema and show business in Los Angeles, and it’s exactly the kind of image that real estate mogul Wang Jianlin wants to cultivate in China to boost the country’s global film brand, right down to those namesake white letters written across the mountainside.
Named as China’s “richest man” by Forbes, Jianlin announced plans to invest 50 billion yuan, or $8.2 billion, in the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis, a film and television production complex housing 20 film studios, eight hotels, two museums and a Chinese version of Los Angeles’ iconic “Hollywood” sign.
Additional features, like a celebrity wax museum, a film exhibition center, a yacht club, an international hospital and a global IMAX research center, complete his vision to build a more visible, global prominence for China’s film industry surrounded by a cultural powerhouse.
Jianlin is no stranger to the entertainment industry—he acquired the U.S. cinema chain AMC Theaters just last year—and believes that “China is “the future of the development of the world film market.”
Expected to be “operational” in 2017, the 3.7 million square meter complex would certainly draw attention and resources to the northeastern coast of the country, yet there is still the matter of convincing A-list actors from all over the world that they can advance their careers and make a life in China.
As Greg Coote, a prominent industry financier and founder of Village Roadshow Pictures, pointed out, a “build it and they will come” approach is not sufficient. “A studio is just a big tin shed with a bunch of special lighting in it,” he says, “It doesn’t mean anything. What you need is talent to move out to China.”
Jianlin and his company leaders have several years to figure out how to make the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis the next motion pictures goliath. Meanwhile, the incentive to live and work in Hollywood runs deeper than ever. It’s not just the legacy of film and the arts that attracts the best talent, but our year-round lifestyle of sun, sea and surf. Add that to the rich entertainment scene and world-recognized chefs and restaurants, and you’ve just about written the perfect script.
Watch the full interview with Jianlin on CNBC here.
View homes in and around Hollywood, USA here.