China Intercontinental Communication Center (CICC) and Image Nation Abu Dhabi enter new strategic partnershipNovember 2016 The partnership will create a new international film fund, train and develop up-and-coming media talent and have new Silk Road-focused programming strand on Quest Arabiya
NOVEMBER 13, 2016 ABU DHABI and BEIJING – The China Intercontinental Communication Center (CICC) and Image Nation Abu Dhabi, part of the Media Zone Authority of Abu Dhabi, announced a new long-term strategic partnership across the film and television industry.
The agreement was signed and announced today in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of Mohammed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Image Nation; Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation; Mr Jing Shiquing, Vice President of CICC; and Omar Al Bitar, Vice President of Emirates Diplomatic Academy.
The People’s Republic of China and the United Arab Emirates have historically enjoyed a close relationship. China is one of the UAE’s largest trading partners and the two countries launched a $10 billion strategic investment fund in December 2015. Abu Dhabi estimates receiving 600,000 Chinese tourists by the year 2021 and has put measures in place to encourage travel, including visas on arrive for Chinese passport holders. The partnership between CICC and Image Nation marks a new breakthrough in cultural cooperation between China and the UAE, extending that relationship into the media industry.
HE Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Image Nation Abu Dhabi, said: “Thanks to the close historical relationship between the UAE and China, Abu Dhabi has quickly become the anchor for China’s outreach efforts to the Middle East and North Africa. At the start of this year I had the pleasure of visiting China with a delegation from the UAE and spent time with our new partners at CICC, where I saw firsthand the impressive developments in the Chinese film and television industries. We are honored to extend Abu Dhabi’s relationship with China into the media industry, a sector of great importance to both countries.”
Mr. Jing Shuiqing, Vice President of CICC, said: “China and the Arab countries have fostered great friendship through the ancient Silk Road. Today, the ‘Belt & Road’ Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, have 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 civilizations. It is our belief that this partnership between CICC and Image Nation will become a model forcooperation between Chinese and Arab media organizations.”
Mr. Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation, said: “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. 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 partners that shares our commitment to building an industry through quality content and sustainable investment strategies.”
The partnership is comprised of three core initiatives:
The Culture China – Image Nation Content Fund
The international film fund (The Culture China – Image Nation Content Fund), with an estimated size of US$ 300 million, will invest in commercial film and television programming from Hollywood, China and other countries worldwide. The seven-year Fund has an initial capital base of US$ 100 million, equally committed by Image Nation and CICC, and will seek other China-based partners in return for limited partnership interests. The Fund will be co-managed by Image Nation and CICC.
Image Nation has a long and successful track record of successfully investing in international co-productions. The profit from these investments has allowed Image Nation to subsidize its local production activities, as part of its commitment to building a sustainable film and television industry in the UAE. The company has long-term relationships with internationally-renowned producers Ashok Amritraj from Hyde Park and Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald from Parkes/MacDonald. Image Nation has recently hired Derek Dauchy as an advisor to the Fund, based in Los Angeles.
Quest Arabiya Programming Strand
CICC and Quest Arabiya will partner on compelling programming in Arabic about Silk Road regions, both past and present. The project is carried out in accordance with China’s One Belt One Road initiative, which strives to foster stronger economic and cultural ties between China and the Arab World.
The first initiative will be the launch of a weekly factual entertainment series titled USILK to air in January 2017. Going forward, the collaboration will expand to include co-produced original content.
Quest Arabiya is a new factual entertainment channel available free-to-air across 22 countries in the MENA region, which Image Nation launched in late 2015 in partnership with Discovery Communications.
Training the next generation of media talent
CCIC and Image Nation also announced a commitment to train and develop up-and-coming media talent in both the UAE and China. The program will commence with secondments between the two companies themselves, allowing young Emirati and Chinese executives the chance to learn about their respective cultures and leading media industries. Going forward the program will expand to include opportunities for internships, mentoring and technical training.
As one of China’s earliest international film and television co-production organizations, CICC’s over 20 years of experience make it a leader in international cultural communication. CICC has established cooperative relations with over 70 media organizations from more than 30 countries and regions so far, and had over 200 hours of internationally co-produced non-fiction programs broadcast in more than 200 countries and regions across the world.
ABOUT IMAGE NATION
Image Nation Abu Dhabi is one of the leading media and entertainment companies in the Arabic-speaking world, producing local and international films, documentaries & television content, and is a pan-Arabic broadcaster following the 2015 launch of Quest Arabiya. The company aims to build a sustainable film and television industry in Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.