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Action! Shaw Brothers returns to Hong Kong cinema

Chinese media mogul Li Ruigang, second from left, was appointed as chairman of Shaw Brothers earlier this month. (Photo by Yasuo Awai)

HONG KONG -- Shaw Brothers Holdings is coming soon to theaters near you. The famous Hong Kong film production company is being resuscitated after a 30-year hiatus. 

The company appointed Li Ruigang, the chairman of venture capital company CMC Holdings, as chairman earlier this month. Under the new leadership of the man dubbed China's Rupert Murdoch, Shaw Brothers plans to spend 1 billion yuan ($147 million) next year.

CMC purchased about a 30% stake in Shaw Brothers, making it the largest shareholder. Partnering with Television Broadcasts of Hong Kong, the film company plans to make eight films, including an adaptation of "City Hunter," a popular Japanese comic and anime series authored by Tsukasa Hojo. 

Earlier this month, Li was also appointed as the vice chairman of the Hong Kong broadcaster, while CMC has become a shareholder.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Li expressed determination to make the once-shining company a top Hong Kong filmmaking brand again. Hong Kong is full of talent and an ideal location to promote the entertainment industry, he said. 

Shaw Brothers ruled during Hong Kong's golden age of cinema in the 1960s and 1970s, when the company was led by the late Run Run Shaw, who is known as the king of Hong Kong film. But the company was overwhelmed by the rise of Golden Harvest, a film-production company founded by key former staff of Shaw Brothers. Since the middle of the 1980s, Shaw Bros. has been out of the filmmaking business. 

Li has a strong network not only in China, but in Hollywood, too. The Chinese media mogul was once involved in the production of "Kung Fu Panda," a Hollywood blockbuster series, and he wants to increase investment in the Hong Kong media industry. In 2015, CMC and Warner Brothers Entertainment of the U.S. established a joint venture in Hong Kong to make Chinese-language films.

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