China, Abu Dhabi launch $300m TV and film fund

Michael Garin

Michael Garin

The China Intercontinental Communication Center and Image Nation Abu Dhabi have created an international fund worth US$300 million as part of a new long-term strategic partnership.

The Culture China – Image Nation Content Fund will invest in films and TV programming from “Hollywood, China and other countries worldwide”.

The fund is set for a seven-year lifecycle, with US$100 million, equally committed by UAE-based production company Image Nation and the state-backed CICC, is the initial capital basis. Image Nation and CICC, which has coproduced more than 200 hours of hours of non-scripted programming, co-manage the fund.

Image Nation focuses on building the Abu Dhabi production industry, and has entered the territory into many international coproductions. It currently has production pacts with Ashok Amritraj from Hyde Park, and Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald from Parkes/MacDonald, has has hired Derek Dauchy as an LA-based advisor for the fund.

Also as part of the new strategic pact between Image Nation and CICC, the latter will partner with Quest Arabiya, a new pan-regional entertainment channel, to create “compelling programming in Arabic about Silk Road regions, both past and present”. This is part of the Chinese One Belt One Road initiative, which is aiming to foster stronger economic ties between China and the Arab world.

The first show is USILK, a weekly factual entertainment series that will debut in January next year on Quest Arabiya, which will service 22 territories in the Middle East and North Africa region. The network is result of a partnership between Image Nation and Discovery Networks International.

“Image Nation and CICC are complementary entities and our combined expertise will help us further our commitments to building the film and TV industries in our respective countries,” said Image Nation CEO Michael Garin.

“Today’s announcement is an important step for Image Nation and the agreement we signed marks an important step toward achieving our long-term goals. We are excited to have CICC as a strategic partner that shares our commitment to building an industry through quality content and sustainable investment strategies.”

“China and the Arab countries have fostered great friendship through the ancient Silk Road,” said Jing Shuiqing, VP of CICC. “Today, the ‘Belt & Road’ initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 has brought new opportunities for the collaboration between China and the UAE.”

“In the future, China and the UAE will cooperate more closely in business and trade and communicate more effectively in culture, which will contribute to a better bilateral relationship, a growing mutual understanding, and a better comprehension of the two civilisations.

“It is our belief that this partnership between CICC and Image Nation will become a model for cooperation between Chinese and Arab media organisations.”