Hong Kong’s HMV Digital China Group announced earlier this week that it has acquired Taiwan’s Vantage Metro Limited, the owner of Hualien Media International, which produced hit romantic comedy Our Times (我的少女時代).
According to the announcement to investors, HMV Digital China Group is initially paying US$6 million for shares of the company at $0.30 per share. It has also agreed to pay up to HK$713 million (US$91.7 million) for the remaining shares if the company meets performance targets in 2018 and 2019.
HMV Digital China cited Hualien’s successful track record in films and the potential of expanding its business prospects to Taiwan as reasons for the acquisition. As one of the purchase conditions, HMV Digital China will hold the production and distribution rights for the Our Times sequel and its television series adaptation.
Released in 2015, Our Times was a runaway hit in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, earning nearly US$72 million in those three regions alone. Hualien co-produced (with the now-defunct Spring Thunder Entertainment) and distributed the film in Taiwan, where it became the fifth highest grossing local film of all time.
Established in 2015, Hualien Media was a joint venture by Taroko textile Corporation, Showtime Cinema, and Ambassador Theatres. Hualien chairman Hsieh Kuo Liang will remain as executive director and handle the daily business of the company.
In a statement released to media following HMV’s announcement of the sale, parent company Hualien Group cleared the confusion between “Hualien Media International” and “Hualien International Group” with a statement announcing that it already obtained approval from the authorities last February to take back its cultural industry-related projects – including film, talent management, film distribution and television productions from Hualien Media after a significant restructuring. It will hand off Hualien Media’s distribution and production projects to other partners in Taiwan.
Originally named China 3D Digital Entertainment, the company purchased 81.6% of HMV Hong Kong from AID Partners Capital in March 2016 and renamed it HMV China Digital Group. The company produces films under its China 3D Digital Entertainment label, including 3D Sex and Zen (3D 肉蒲團), Iceman (), The Yuppie Fantasia 3 (小男人週記3之吾家有喜) and 29+1. Its upcoming projects include August release The Sinking City (西謊極落之太爆太子太空艙), based on a local novel, and Roy Chow’s live-action adaptation of action game Dynasty Warriors, which has just began production.
HMV China Digital Group also operates the HMV chain in Hong Kong, several cinemas in China, a digital distribution platform for films, and two talent management agencies.
This year, Hualien Media distributed Lunar New Year comedy Hanky Panky (大釣哥).