The victory of an Oscar for a film producer would generate a series of events and social evenings in order to celebrate success. This was not the case, however, for Perfect Word. The gaming company based in Beijing, in fact, has continued its work, despite having produced two films that have triumphed at the 90th Academy Awards.
Darkest Hour brought home awards for best actor and best make-up and hairstyle, while Phantom Thread won for the best costume. The other film co-produced by Perfect World, Victoria & Abdul, only had two nominations.
This success starts in 2016, when the Beijing-based company signed an agreement with Universal Pictures to finance over 50 films in five years, entering approximately $ 500 million.
But Perfect Word is not just a company that invests in the film industry. Founded in 2004 by Michael Chi Yufeng as a developer and operator of online video games, according to research conducted by Newzoo, is the third gaming company in China after Tencent Holding and NetEase, as well as the twenty-first gaming company in the world by revenue.
In 2007, Perfect World Games became a company listed on the Nasdaq stock market. In 2015, Perfect World Games became private to be removed from the Nasdaq, entering, a year later, the Chinese stock market through a listing with the affiliate Perfect World Pictures. The two companies have merged and now operate on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as Perfect World.
The company, with approximately 5,000 employees, has a market capitalization of $ 6.8 billion and, in the first half of last year’s report, its gaming activity accounted for 86% of the total turnover of $ 57 million. Perfect World is also the Chinese distributor of several successful global video game titles, including Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Returning to the cinema, Perfect World also produced the romantic comedy Sophie’s Revenge, with Zhang Ziyi, in 2009, and the Chinese success Love Is Not Blind in 2011. This year, moreover, will co-produce at least two franchised films with Universal Pictures: Fifty Shades Freed and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
The case of Perfect World, however, is certainly not isolated. In fact, Chinese technology companies like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are investing in intellectual content of other properties, producing television series or films and managing subscription-based video-streaming platforms. The largest of these operations was the acquisition by Dalian Wanda Group, the 3.5 billion dollar movie and entertainment giant, of Legendary Entertainment in 2016.
Michael Berry, professor of contemporary Chinese cultural studies at the University of California at Los Angeles, believes that: “For many years, an Academy Award has proved to be an elusive prize for Chinese filmmakers. Perfect World’s financing of prestige films provides an alternative access to the world of Oscar.”