[Reading the City] Hengdian, more than movies

Hengdian, a town under the jurisdiction of Dongyang City, Zhejiang Province.

Maybe someone will ask, where is Dongyang? Dongyang is a county-level city managed by Jinhua. Compared with Yiwu, which is also managed by Jinhua next door, Dongyang’s sense of existence is obviously almost meaningless. However, Hengdian is one of the most famous towns in China. Because Hengdian has a famous name-Hollywood, China.

As the largest real-life film and television shooting base in China, there are countless movies and TV series filmed in Hengdian. If you are an audience in idolize, you might as well check your own love of beans and see how many days your brother and sister spend in Hengdian in 365 days a year.

Relying on live shooting, the upstream and downstream of the film and television industry and derivative industries are also highly concentrated in Hengdian, which can be described as a veritable film and television town. From props to scenery, from art to lighting, from artists’ agency to cinema distribution, Hengdian is in charge of everything that is closely related to film and television, whether the final product is shown in the cinema or broadcast on TV, or even brushed in Tik Tok’s hands.

For this reason, in many people’s cognition, Hengdian is a place where stars are everywhere and crews are numerous; Every actor on the road and every director in the cafe. This idea is not particularly wrong. Take the statistics in early August this year as an example. At that time, there were 52 filming crews and 50 preparing crews in Hengdian. The huge demand for extras has spawned a unique group called "drifting" in Hengdian, claiming to have as many as 200,000 people. Hengdian, a small town, is like a giant assembly line. Employees from all aspects of the film and television industry gather here from all over the world, producing the same product day and night-film and television drama.

According to the routine, it’s time to say "but".

Film and television is undoubtedly the largest and most famous label in Hengdian, but it is far from the whole of Hengdian. Because in addition to film and television, this town also hides an industrial giant-Hengdian Group, which spans many fields, has six listed companies and has an annual revenue of more than 80 billion.

In a sense, I have read Hengdian Group and also read Hengdian.

Let’s first quote a brief introduction of official website, Hengdian Group: Hengdian Group is a diversified super-large private enterprise in China, covering the secondary and tertiary industries. Through the integration of leading manufacturing technology and information technology, a comprehensive solution integrating product research and development, production, sales and service of new materials, new energy, lighting, micro-special motors, audio, medicine, medical treatment, medical devices and green pesticides is formed.

To sum up for everyone, this fancy introduction is probably to express such a meaning: Hengdian Group is very big, and Hengdian Group does a lot of things.

In 1975, the gear of fate began to turn in Hengdian. This year, Xu Wenrong, secretary of the Party branch of Hengdian Brigade, a farmer, was ordered to take over the silk reeling factory that was on the verge of bankruptcy at that time, and the story of Xu Wenrong and Hengdian Group began. From the perspective of God, the script that Xu Wenrong got is a bit old-fashioned. Simply put, it is a story of private entrepreneurs’ entrepreneurship that has been staged countless times in the Yangtze River Delta region. The heroic man from heaven led the local people to start from scratch and drove the local industry from scratch to become bigger and stronger.

Although you can’t wait to say "I’ve seen this episode", let’s pick a few important time nodes to give a glimpse of the development of Hengdian Group.

After taking over the silk reeling factory, Xu Wenrong set up a knitting factory and a printing and dyeing factory in Hengdian, and then set up the Hengdian Textile General Factory. In 1980, Xu Wenrong sent 33 employees to study in Baoji, Shaanxi Province, and then established Dongyang Hengdian Magnetic Equipment Factory, which entered the electronic component industry. Four years later, Hengdian Industrial Corporation was formally established. By 1987, the total output value of the company had exceeded 100 million yuan, and Hengdian became the first town with 100 million yuan in central Zhejiang. Also in this year, Hengdian Industrial Corporation began to try to develop pharmaceutical intermediates.

In 1990, Hengdian established the first private enterprise group in Zhejiang, Zhejiang Hengdian Enterprise Group Company, and was reorganized into Hengdian Group in 1993. At that time, under the leadership of Xu Wenrong, the magnetic materials and biomedical industries created by Hengdian out of thin air became the two most important puzzles in the business map of Hengdian Group. Today, it is still the signature industry of Hengdian, and it also makes Hengdian like to mention the two rivers and lakes names of "World Magnetic Capital" and "Jiangnan Medicine Valley".

If we continue to follow this script, Hengdian is nothing more than a small town that makes a fortune in a ravine in central Zhejiang. However, in 1995, the wheel of fate turned again. This year, Xie Jin, a famous Chinese director, came to Hengdian, who was preparing the film "Opium War" as a tribute to the return of Hong Kong. According to Xu Wenrong’s own recollection, he didn’t know Xie Jin at that time, and he didn’t know that he was a director.

As for why director Xie Jin ran to Hengdian, it was somewhat ill and rushed to the hospital. "The Opium War" needs a scene on the streets of Guangzhou in the 19th century. Director Xie Jin searched for a shooting base in many places, but never found a suitable one. At that time, Hengdian Group was newly involved in the tourism industry, and in a short period of time, it made a lot of artificial attractions in the local area. After director Xie Jin heard about it, he wanted to try his luck here.

Although he didn’t go to the movies, Xu Wenrong saw the opportunity and took the job decisively. As a result, Hengdian Group invested and blew up a barren hillside in Hengdian in three months, and abruptly built a shooting base of "19th Century Nanyue Guangzhou Street" with 120 houses and a construction area of more than 60,000 square meters.

This big project of "making something out of nothing" has made Hengdian and the film and television industry formally attached to each other. Xie Jin’s Opium War was finished in Hengdian, and another famous director, Chen Kaige, came to the door with Jing Ke Stabbing the King of Qin. Last time Hengdian built a street for Xie Jin, this time Hengdian directly built a Qin king Palace for Chen Kaige.

Since then, a series of real-life shooting bases, such as Hong Kong Street, Ming and Qing Palace and Jiangnan Water Town, have emerged in Hengdian, and the "Hengdian Film and Television City" has gradually taken shape. In 1999, The Hollywood Report, an authoritative magazine in American film and television industry, called Hengdian "Hollywood in China" for the first time. In 2004, Hengdian was approved by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television as the national film and television industry development base, and Zhejiang Hengdian film and television industry experimental zone was officially listed. From 1996 to 2005, Hengdian received more than 300 film and television crews and filmed tens of thousands of episodes of film and television dramas.

After reviewing the history, let’s take a look at the member enterprises of Hengdian Group now. First of all, there are six listed companies, which are Debang Lighting, Puluo Pharmaceutical, nanhua futures, Hengdian Dongci and Yingluohua Technology. Of course, there is also Hengdian film and television that makes movies.

In addition to these six listed companies, Hengdian Group also has real estate development companies, public service companies, foreign trade companies, large shopping malls, schools, kindergartens and even airports-yes, Hengdian is a town with an airport. As early as 2000, Hengdian Group Aviation Development Co., Ltd. was established, and Dongyang Hengdian General Airport was officially opened to traffic in 2018 and has been in operation since then. So theoretically, you can fly to Hengdian.

In March this year, the 2022 annual report card released by Hengdian Group showed that the group’s annual operating income was 88.626 billion yuan; The trade export volume reached 16.237 billion yuan, with a total investment of 8.628 billion yuan.

Specific to its listed companies, Hengdian Dongci and Yingluohua Technology performed the most brilliantly on the track of new energy and new materials. Among them, Hengdian Dongci achieved revenue of 19.451 billion yuan in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 54.28%. Puluo Pharmaceutical, a biomedical industry, performed equally steadily, with an annual revenue of about 10.545 billion yuan in 2022, up 17.92% year-on-year.

On the contrary, Hengdian film and television, which is well-known abroad, failed to be immune to the downward cycle of the industry. The annual revenue was 1.427 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 37.51%; The net profit attributable to shareholders was negative 317 million yuan, a year-on-year plunge of 24.22%. By the end of 2022, the company’s total assets were 4.555 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 16.48%.

The impact of the epidemic on China’s film and television industry is self-evident, and the life of Hengdian film and television is not easy, which is also expected. However, Hengdian did not completely lie flat in the contrarian trend, but quietly made efforts in the cinema screening business. Last year, the number of cinemas opened by Hengdian Film and Television reached 493, an increase of 37 over the same period of last year, with 247 new screens.

In July last year, Hengdian Film and Television announced that it would acquire 100% equity of Shanghai Xingyi Studios, a subsidiary of Xincheng Group, for 3 billion yuan. Although the merger failed because the two parties failed to reach an agreement, such a large transaction also shows that Hengdian Film and Television wants to expand its market share urgently.

With the overall recovery of the domestic film and television industry this year, "Hollywood in China" has also recovered to the naked eye. At the same time, this small town in the ravine will continue to make a fortune. After all, in addition to the production of fantasy dramas in which heroes fly to the ground and palace dramas in which nuns slap each other, there are also medicines, lamps, new materials and new energy sources, and by the way, futures are also drummed up.

Copywriting: in quantity

Camera: Huang Xiaozhou

Video production: in quantity

Editor-in-Chief: Kong Lingjun

Author: Liu Chang Yu Liang.