BOC to lend $474m to China's Hollywood

Updated: 2011-12-03 17:34


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BEIJING - The Bank of China (BOC) will give loans capped at 3 billion yuan ($473.9 million) to a leading filmmaking base in east China's Zhejiang province over the next three years, according to an agreement signed between the BOC's Zhejiang branch and Hengdian Chinese Film Industrial Park on Friday.

The move is an extension of BOC's 2010 credit program with Hengdian film park, regarded as "China's Hollywood," and has been labelled another important step in financial institutions nurturing China's cultural industry.

"The BOC will increase financial support to Hengdian film park, and help companies in the park go global by merging, acquiring and cooperating with overseas companies," said Tao Yiqiao, deputy manager of the BOC's Zhejiang branch.

In April 2009, the Ministry of Culture, along with four ministries and administrations, and the Export-Import Bank of China jointly issued a circular which for the first time initiated the marriage between financial institutions and cultural enterprises.

One year later, nine ministries and commissions issued a guideline jointly with the People's Bank of China, China's central bank, to encourage financial organs' lending to cultural industries at national level.

"The cooperation relieved the difficulties for film enterprises in financing, and a special work group will be established to conduct property assessment after signing the agreement," said Li Hongliang, head of Hengdian Chinese Film Industrial Park.

In the past five years, central financial input to cultural undertakings, sports and media has undergone an annual growth rate of 25.4 percent on average, jumping from 10.2 billion yuan in 2005 to 154.3 billion yuan in 2010.

In October, the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China concluded its sixth plenary session and adopted a guideline to improve the nation's cultural soft power and advocate Chinese culture.

Under the support of state policy and the willingness of financial institutions, more and more cultural companies are expected to benefit from bank-enterprise cooperation.

Qi Yongfeng, professor with the Communication University of China, said the financial industry could support culture, while the development of the cultural industry will help banks seek new economic growth points, "so it's the financial industry's inevitable choice."