Chinese/US Co-Productions Under the Trump Administration

As the political climate changes amongst the newest presidency in the United States, Chinese/U.S. coproductions and business relations may become tougher than we have imagined. A major example of this, which can be used of what is to expect in the future, is the most headline breaking Wanda-Dick Clark acquisition deal.

In November 2016, The Dalian Wanda Group announced a blockbuster $1-Billion dollar agreement to acquire Dick Clark productions. Now, three months later, the deal is taking longer than originally anticipated, causing a great deal of speculation amongst the Hollywood finance and international co-production communities. Although the acquisition is still ongoing, it is expected to conclude before March 2017. It is the most recent Hollywood acquisition by Wanda since purchasing Legendary Entertainment for $3.5-Billion and AMC Theaters for $2.6-Billion five years ago.

Dick Clark Productions is most recognized for the Golden Globes, American Music Awards, and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve specials.

The largest speculation revolves around the recent inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, and his administration’s nationalistic ideology. Wanda, in addition to other Chinese conglomerates such as Alibaba, Sina, etc. fear the scrutiny of major U.S. investments and acquisitions under the Trump administration. Members of the U.S. Congress have already begun to scrutinize Wanda for their strategic extension of ‘soft-power’ through cultural influence over these three previous mega-acquisitions.

In 2016, Chinese overseas investment rose 150% of that in 2015, according to an estimate by the American Enterprise Institute. Of that overseas investment, the U.S. received approximately $50-Billion. The report project Chinese investments in the U.S. to decline significantly in 2017, due to many new international finance agreements that have been proposed. These same agreements are complicating the Wanda/Dick Clark Productions acquisition.