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Monday, February 29, 2016

Stock price of Hong Kong-listed ShiFang Holding rises dramatically when three highly-respected Chinese filmmakers join the firm

Stock price of Hong Kong-listed ShiFang Holding rises dramatically when three highly-respected Chinese filmmakers join the firm

"Ip Man 3" producer Shi Jianxiang appointed as ShiFang Holding's board chairman

HONG KONG, March 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Hong Kong-listed publishing and advertising firm ShiFang Holding Limited (HKSE: 01831.HK) recently announced the appointment of "Ip Man 3" producer Shi Jianxiang as chairman of its board of directors, effective February 25, 2016. Mr. Shi has also been named as executive director of the company and member of its Nominating Committee.

ShiFang Holding entered the Chinese film market when the firm invested 110 million yuan (approx. US$16.7 million) in acquiring 55 percent of the rights to the net box office revenue in mainland China of the 3D Ip Man film from Shanghai Hehe Film Investment. Hong Kong's well-known director and filmmaker Hsiao-ming Hsu has accepted the position of CEO, while See-Yuen Ng, the AFA Lifetime Achievement Award winner who has been hailed as the godfather of Hong Kong films, has been appointed as an independent company director. On the heels of the announcement of these appointments, in just 4 short months (since October 2015) the stock has risen from HK$0.425 (approx. US$0.05) to HK$3.75 (approx. US$0.48), despite the downward trend of the overall market. The market value of the company has grown from less than HK$550 million (approx. US$70.4 million) last October to HK$4.1 billion (approx. US$525 million) as of the end of the trading day on February 26, 2016. The performance in the stock market demonstrates the faith of investors in the new business model and their upbeat prognosis for the company's future.

With Mr. Shi, one of the most influential filmmakers in China, joining the firm as chairman, a strong team of three highly-respected Chinese filmmakers, including Hsiao-ming Hsu and See-Yuen Ng, is now at the helm. The team bought the copyright to "Ip Man 3" on behalf of the company, reflecting their strong confidence in the film's box office results in mainland China. Executive director and CEO Hsu said, "The company plans to focus on three areas in 2016: the business model, investments and distribution. On the one hand, the company plans to combine filmmaking with online and appropriate financial backing in a move to open up more opportunities in mainland China, now the second largest market worldwide in terms box office revenues. On the other hand, the company will invest in excellent screenplays as they are regarded as the most productive force in the film market. Lastly, the company intends to add financial support to the traditional distribution of films and leverage online big data as a strategy to enhance the precision in terms of the targeting of film distribution with the expectation of doubling the box office receipts of the films it produces. "

These moves were made possible thanks to robust access to capital, a wide social network, the rich experience brought on board by the trio of filmmakers, as well as the increasing growth of China's domestic movie market. In addition to first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, box-office sales in second and third-tier cities across China have continued to rise, while the market demonstrates further strong market potential. The excellent IP-based content of "Ip Man 3" as well as the participation of renowned kung fu stars, among them Donnie Yen and Zhang Jin, as well as boxing legend Mike Tyson, serve to assure strong results at the box office. As opposed to Pegasus Entertainment Holdings, the main recipient of ticket sales from the first two episodes of the Ip Man film series, sales of which took place mainly in Hong Kong, the trio of filmmakers now expect the lion's share of the box office income for "Ip Man 3" to come from mainland China, foretelling rosy prospects for the firm. The multiplier effect as a result of a comprehensive approach by means of directly profiting from "Ip Man 3" and the additional injection of capital is expected to lead to an upgrade in the quality of production and an increased focus on the profitability of traditional movies. Based on the closing price as of last week, Pegasus Entertainment Holdings' market value stood at HK$1,363 million, down 10 percent since the beginning of 2016.

Taking "The Mermaid," a new box office blockbuster with sales of more than 3 billion yuan, as an example, it remains an unknown whether the movie will earn HK$60 million in Hong Kong. However, "Ip Man 3" has already posted combined ticket sales of HK$60.05 million in that market. As opposed to "The Mermaid's" lackluster response in overseas markets, "Ip Man 3" has recorded global box office sales of US$35 million (or 240 million yuan) thanks to the popularity of Chinese kung fu among foreign audiences, making it the best-selling Chinese movie in 2015 outside of Hong Kong and mainland China. The Chinese-language movie also has set a new box-office record in Southeast Asia, just one among several of the records that the commercial performance of this movie is expected to break.

Shi Jianxiang, executive producer of "Ip Man 3," said: "We are here to produce Chinese-language movies featuring Chinese culture and characters. The heritage of a nation is also the heritage of our planet and should be shared by all." "Ip Man 3," which will hit mainland theatres on March 4, is positioned to quickly gain popularity among audiences again due to deep roots into Chinese culture and the movie-going public's recognition of the film's core values. The fact that other promising movies have chosen to adjust their release dates for various reasons will help "Ip Man 3" become the best-selling blockbuster for March and earn similar ticket sales as "The Mermaid."

Notably, in addition to "Ip Man 3," Shanghai Hehe Film Investment's 3D epic war blockbuster movie "The Bombing" calls for 700 million yuan in funding, 500 million yuan of which is already in place, representing the biggest investment to date in a Chinese-language 3D film. Given the huge investment and the impossibility in predicting the resulting income, all eyes will be on executive producer Shi's efforts to apply the financial management model behind "Ip Man 3" into "The Bombing."

"The Bombing" is currently in post-production. Under Mr. Shi's guidance, the production team appointed South Korea-based Macrograph to produce the film's special effects and Technicolor USA to handle the film's sound effects and dubbing. In addition, US-based post-production firm Company 3 was appointed as post lighting designer while leading Hollywood, California-based film promotion firm BLT Communications has led the production of the posters and promotional trailers. "The Bombing" is scheduled to be screened worldwide in the second half of 2016.

Additionally, Mr. Shi is also executive producer of "The Expendables 4," the latest installment of the series. His efforts are all part of a plan to map out a grand blueprint for the next stage of development of the Chinese-language movie industry, which will start with the first screening of the highly anticipated "Ip Man 3" in mainland China on March 4, 2016.

Additional information:

About Shi Jianxiang
As vice chairman of the China Culture Administration Association and the China Film Foundation, Shi Jianxiang is one of the most powerful Chinese filmmakers and has been named the Sino-US cultural exchange ambassador. He produced "Ip Man 3" and "The Bombing." Mr. Shi is also the Chinese executive producer of "The Expendables 4." In his role as chairman of Shanghai KUAILU Investment (Group), he received the Shanghai Charity Star award.

About Hsiao-ming Hsu
Hsiao-ming Hsu, a well-known director, actor and singer in Hong Kong, is the current founding president of Hong Kong Televisioners Association. He received the Global Outstanding Chinese award in 2013. He served as senior vice president at Asia Television, chief executive officer of Emperor Motion Pictures, executive director at i-CABLE Entertainment, chief operating officer of Hong Kong Satellite TV and president of Sundream Motion Pictures.

About See-Yuen Ng
See-Yuen Ng, a leading filmmaker, director and producer in Hong Kong, is known as the godfather of Hong Kong films. He is chairman of both Seasonal Film and chairman of UME. He won the Justice of the Peace and Bronze Bauhinia Star awarded by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

About "The Bombing"
"The Bombing" will be backed by the biggest investment ever in the Chinese film industry's 111 years of development. It is China's first 3D epic war blockbuster movie to be screened worldwide. Leading Chinese and international film stars are part of the cast, including Bruce Willis, Adrien Brody, Liu Ye, Fan Bingbing, Song Seung Heon, William Chan, Nicholas Tse, Chen Daoming and Liu Xiaoqing. The Oscar-winning producers joined the production of the film and Mel Gibson served as art director. Investment in the film is expected to total 700 million yuan, 500 million yuan of which is already in place. With 40,000 electric squibs for fireworks, 2,500 kilograms of gunpowder and 2,000 liters worth of gasoline bombs used in the production of the film, "The Bombing" includes 12 air battles as well as a plethora of aerial bombings, a war carried out in the skies, and several disasters and fight scenes assuring the delivery of a star-studded and classic blockbuster movie. The movie showcases some of the most realistic, horror-packed scenes in full panorama with scenes shot from the air, on the ground, underwater, on the road, from moving vehicles and underground, with each scene ensuring the moviegoer a thorough and all-encompassing 3D experience.

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