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China showbiz shares surge amid new year box office boom

(ATF) Chinese entertainment equities – led by cinema designer Imax China and Alibaba-backed Ali Pictures soared on February 16, fuelled by massive box office receipts over the lunar new year holiday.

Cinemagoers in China helped box office receipts reached historic highs during the lunar new year holiday, topping Rmb 1 billion ($155 million) per day for three days in a row, according to government figures.

A rally in Chinese entertainment shares in Hong Kong was led by Imax China, which surged by as much as 88% on February 16. 

Shares in the designer and maker of high-performance cinema screens traded at HK$18.36 in the afternoon, 32% above its previous close. 

Production company Ali Pictures, backed by internet giant Alibaba, saw its shares rise by more than 30% on February 16, while data provider Maoyan rose more than 10%.

WORLD’S BIGGEST MARKET

China’s box office revenues so far in 2021 had already surpassed Rmb 10 billion as of Tuesday morning, according to Dengta Data.

According to Maoyan, in 2020 China’s box office became the world’s biggest, with Rmb 20 billion ($3.13 billion) in sales.

Despite capacity limits of 50% being placed on cinemas, the release of domestic blockbusters boosted ticket sales. 

Detective Chinatown 3, the latest instalment in a popular slapstick comedy franchise by Shenzhen-listed Wanda Film Group, is expected to top holiday rankings. 

Box office takings were also helped by Valentine’s Day falling within the seven-day new year holiday.

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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