Chinese Entertainment Firm Huayi Brothers Holds Shares in Metaverse Startup

As of October 12, a subsidiary of Chinese multinational entertainment company Huayi Brothers Media Corp. held 20% of shares in Metaverse Culture and Entertainment Management (Qingdao) Co., Ltd., and James Wang, one of Huayi Brothers’ founders, was serving as its director, according to information displayed on Chinese business data platform Qichacha.

Metaverse Culture and Entertainment Management was established on November 22, 2021 with registered capital of 2 million yuan ($27,8431). The company focuses on the field of entertainment services and is committed to applying 5G, AR, artificial intelligence and other technologies to the entertainment sector, thereby providing users with more immersive experiences.

In May of this year, Huayi Brothers announced it would enter into the metaverse field by cooperating with digital integration service provider Teamsun Technology in the construction of a digital virtual world. Both sides apply digital technology to film and television production and real-life cultural tourism projects.

In August, Wang once again expressed his understanding and interest in the metaverse during an interview at the Beijing International Film Festival. He mentioned, “The changes brought about by the collision between film and the metaverse are mainly reflected in two levels. At the R&D end, the virtual shooting brought by virtual technology and enhanced technology has greatly improved the time, efficiency, cost and completion of film production. Huayi Brothers plans to produce two high-quality films with virtual shooting accounting for more than 80% in the next two years. At the consumption end, the change brought by the metaverse is a model innovation in content consumption.”

He also mentioned that metaverse can create virtual characters, which helps the completion of the entire business system. Huayi Brothers hopes to create virtual stars or virtual artists to help upgrade various industries.

As the first film and television entertainment company listed in China, Huayi Brothers is regarded as a producer of popular movies. However, throughout the first half of 2022, repeated outbreaks of COVID in China led to insufficient supply of high-quality content in the film and television industry, and operating difficulties of theaters still exist. On August 25, a semi-annual report released by Huayi Brothers showed that the company achieved a total operating income of 211.7528 million yuan in the first half of the year, and the net profit attributable to shareholders was -192.4466 million yuan, a decrease compared with the same period of the previous year.

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In addition to Huayi Brothers, domestic film and television companies such as Mango Entertainment, Perfect World, Alpha Group, have also entered the metaverse field. In 2021, Mango Entertainment launched a virtual host, and in March 2022, it released a digital collection platform based on its own blockchain technology called “Light Chain.” Perfect World plans to rely on existing games to realize the early accumulation in the field. Perfect World’s technology center has now completed technical reserves related to virtual idols and blockchain. Alpha Group, meanwhile, has launched a number of digital collections on platforms such as Jingtan and Bigverse.