Seeing is believing: IMAX to launch $250,000 home theatres in China

Seeing is believing: IMAX to launch $250,000 home theatres in China

6:49am EDT

By Matthew Miller

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s newly minted rich can now get up close and personal to the movies after mega-screen maker IMAX Corp signed a deal to produce luxury home theaters in the company’s second largest market. The fifty-fifty joint venture with Shenzhen-based TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Ltd will give Chinese the chance to watch IMAX-enhanced Hollywood blockbusters in the comfort of their homes, maybe even on the day of their world premieres.The price? At least $250,000. The joint venture is targeting wealthy homeowners in Hong Kong, Russia, and the Middle East, but the main focus, IMAX Chief Executive Richard Gelfond said, is China.

“China now is our second largest market in the world, and our fastest growing market,” Gelfond told Reuters on Friday. “We spend a lot of time concentrating on the Chinese market.”

IMAX earns 16 percent of its revenue in China, and now has 131 screens installed there.

Like other global brands, IMAX is betting on the appetite of ultra-rich Chinese for luxury goods and unique experiences, which is also helping the sales of retailers like LVMH and Tiffany & Co.

The number of Chinese millionaires rose by more than 14 percent last year to 643,000, the most recent wealth survey by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management shows. The country is now home to the fourth largest number of high net-worth individuals in the world.

Neither IMAX nor TCL Multimedia Chief Financial Officer Edmond Chen would forecast how many home systems the company expects to sell when it kicks of production in 2015. The deal was signed this week.

TCL estimates annual growth for home theater sets is likely to exceed 20 percent in the next five years. It said the market for home theaters may be about 2,000 sets now.

In July, IMAX announced an agreement with local conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Corp to build up to 120 new theaters in China. The deal would raise the number of IMAX theaters to about 400, with Wanda running around half.

Gelfond in September helped Dalian Wanda launch a $8 billion production, entertainment and real estate project in the coastal city of Qingdao, surrounded by stars including Nicole Kidman and Leonardo DiCaprio.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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