IMAX took another big China step Thursday, naming Jiande Chen CEO of IMAX China and giving him oversight of the company’s expansion into the country as well as its relationship with the Chinese entertainment industry.
IMAX China is a subsidiary of IMAX that was established to further expand the company’s presence in its second-largest and fastest-growing market. IMAX already has 48 theaters in the country — 30 of which are commercial — and plans to have 181 theaters open by 2015.
“IMAX is uniquely positioned to participate in the rapidly expanding cinema industry in China,” Chen said in a statement. “Consumers have already demonstrated a strong appetite for the awe-inspiring entertainment experience of IMAX films, which makes this an even more exciting time to be part of the IMAX team.”
Through the first eight months of 2011, IMAX theaters in China grossed more than $40 million, the company said. It has two offices in the country – one in Shanghai and one in Beijing.
Chen will report directly to IMAX China’s Board of Directors and IMAX CEO Ricahrd Gelfond.
“Mr. Chen brings more than 15 years of senior leadership and business acumen to IMAX, including the last 12 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment in Beijing where he was responsible for distribution, production and licensing,” Gelfond said in the statement. “The synergy between his experience at Sony and our efforts to develop the IMAX brand makes him a perfect fit to build market share and lead IMAX China in this region’s rapidly developing motion picture industry.”