Sat, Dec 31, 2011 - Page 12 News List

US visual effects producer R&H investing in Taiwan

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Taiwan’s digital content industry received a boost yesterday when US-based Rhythm and Hues Studios (R&H), one of the world’s top visual effects and animation production companies, signed a letter of intent with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to invest in Taiwan.

R&H is expected to spend about NT$6 billion (US$198.2 million) to set up two studios and manage a movie fund that will co-finance and co-produce major Hollywood motion pictures with Taiwanese investors over six years.

Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Christina Liu (劉憶如) said the movie fund aimed to gather NT$3 billion in capital from investors and the state--managed National Development Fund would review R&H’s application for backing next month.

Under the agreement, R&H intends to set up a VFX center in Kaohsiung to produce computer-generated animation and visual effects imagery for Hollywood films.

It also plans to set up a cloud-computing services center in Taipei that can deliver customized digital-content creation solutions for the global market.

These centers should help nurture 200 computer animation and visual effects artists in Taiwan within three years, R&H founder John Hughes said.

Taiwan’s digital content industry has grown rapidly over the past decade, with production output rising from NT$153.7 billion in 2002 to NT$522.5 billion last year, a compound annual growth rate of 16.53 percent.

Production output is expected to surpass the NT$600 billion mark this year, the ministry said.

The local digital content -sector has also attracted investment from major international players in places such as Japan and New Zealand, with overseas investments this year expected to surpass NT$27.6 billion — a six-fold increase from last year, the ministry said.

Established in Los Angeles in 1987, R&H has been involved with more than 130 Hollywood films, such as The Incredible Hulk and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

It received an Academy Award in 1995 for Babe and in 2008 for The Golden Compass.

Meanwhile, Hughes said that R&H would also establish a joint venture with Quanta Computer Inc (廣達), the world’s largest contract notebook PC maker, and -Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation’s largest telecoms operator, because the US company plans to offer cloud-computing services in Taiwan.

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