Co-production Efforts between China and US: Globalisation Soft Power and Cultural Relevance in the Movie Industry: An Exploratory Study of Dalian Wanda’s Acquisition of Legendary Entertainment

Gianmaria Maggioni

Student thesis: Master thesis


During the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party, it was announced that China, among other endeavours, would address the soft power gap by focusing on cultural production. The Central Committee realised that the country was lacking in global cultural relevance and crafted a series of strategies to maximise the country’s advantages and neutralise the disadvantages in the cultural field. Among all the cultural options I could have chosen, cinema was regarded as the most influential. Moreover, the co-production model represented the most advantageous strategy for Chinese movie industry to catch up with American movie industry and, in turn, achieve global cultural relevance in the process. Dalian Wanda Group, a Chinese conglomerate, took a step further and, to improve its entertainment division, acquired Legendary Entertainment, an American production company. With this project I wanted to acknowledge the importance of the acquisition, as it stands as the first instance of a Chinese company buying an American movie production company. This is part of a bigger trend of Chinese investments in Western countries. It can be interpreted as a signal of a shift of power in the global entertainment industry and could very likely pre announce a larger shift in the world order. The thesis begins with the analysis of soft power relationships at a global level, then proceeds with an overview of the co-production environment at an industry level and concludes with a focus on the last iterations of co-production endeavours at a firm level. The researcher’s contribution lies in the clarification of the connections between China’s soft power objectives, the intensification of co-productions and the rationale behind Dalian Wanda’s acquisition of Legendary Entertainment.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages139