United Arab Emirates' production giant Image Nation Abu Dhabi has signed a new long-term partnership with the state-backed China Intercontinental Communication Center (CICC) to invest in film and TV.
The newly announced Culture China - Image Nation Content Fund will start with an initial capital base of $100 million, split between the two parties, but is expected to rise to $300 million and will be used to finance content from Hollywood, China and elsewhere.
As part of the partnership, CICC will team with Image Nation's new pan-Arabian factual entertainment channel Quest Arabiya, launched last year with Discovery, on a new weekly series about the countries lying on the famed Silk Road, the ancient trade routes between China and the Mediterranean.
There also will be efforts to train new media talent from both the U.A.E. and China, with opportunities for internships, mentoring and technical education.
"Thanks to the close historical relationship between the U.A.E. and China, Abu Dhabi has quickly become the anchor for China's outreach efforts to the Middle East and North Africa," Image Nation chairman Mohamed Al Mubarak said in a statement. "At the start of this year I had the pleasure of visiting China with a delegation from the U.A.E. and spent time with our new partners at CICC, where I saw firsthand the impressive developments in the Chinese film and television industries."
Under the guidance of CEO Michael Garin, Image Nation has invested in several major Hollywood titles, including Men in Black 3, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Keeping Up With the Jones, thanks to relationships with producers Hyde Park and Parkes/MacDonald. Its next fully financed film is the upcoming Emma Watson- and Tom Hanks-starring adaptation of Dave Eggers' sci-fi novel The Circle.