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Tencent Holdings Ltd’s main movie arm plans to spend at least 2 billion yuan ($295 million) investing in Hollywood and Chinese films in the two years through 2017 to expand its presence in global entertainment production, according to people familiar with the matter.

Tencent Pictures, which helped finance domestic smash Warcraft and the upcoming Kong: Skull Island, is investing 1 billion yuan this year and more than that in 2017 on a plethora of local and foreign movie projects, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private.

That figure covers only movie financing and doesn’t include the company’s budget for intellectual property and content acquisition, the people said.

China’s largest social media company, which owns dominant messaging services WeChat and QQ, is laying the groundwork for a global entertainment empire.

Founded just last year, its film-making arm is beginning to produce movies based on its trove of popular in-house content, adopting a franchise model akin to Walt Disney Co and Marvel.

The company announced in September it will bankroll 21 projects based on content including the Tibet Code, a fantasy series involving a hunt for ancient treasure. It’s beefing up its stable of mobile games by buying Clash of Clans developer Supercell Oy.

China has become a focus for Hollywood studios in recent years as the US film market has stagnated. Ticket sales in China are set to grow 22 percent to $10.4 billion next year, according to average projections by IHS Markit Ltd and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Source: China Daily

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