EDB's investment arm puts funds into Cityneon

EDBI's network will add significant value to the firm's growth worldwide, says Cityneon group chief executive and executive chairman Ron Tan. Cityneon will tap EDBI's experience in emerging technology to devise new innovations in experience entertain
EDBI's network will add significant value to the firm's growth worldwide, says Cityneon group chief executive and executive chairman Ron Tan. Cityneon will tap EDBI's experience in emerging technology to devise new innovations in experience entertainment.LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE PHOTO

Entertainment firm setting up creative office here, continuing expansion into new markets

Cityneon Holdings has received an undisclosed amount of funding from EDBI, the investment arm of the Economic Development Board, the company said yesterday.

The investment comes as the entertainment firm, which recently delisted from the Singapore Exchange, continues to expand into new markets, including Scotland, India, the United Arab Emirates and China.

Cityneon creates licensed interactive exhibitions based on blockbuster entertainment franchises such as Marvel's Avengers superheroes, Jurassic Park and the Transformers.

EDBI's extensive network will add significant value to the firm's expansion worldwide, Cityneon group chief executive and executive chairman Ron Tan said, adding: "Today, approximately 90 per cent of the group's profits are derived from outside of Singapore. We intend to step up our pace of expansion."

The company will capitalise on EDBI's experience in emerging technology to devise new innovations in experience entertainment. These include mixed reality and consumer analytics to complement Cityneon's capacity in animatronics.

The firm will also expand its headquarters here by setting up a creative office in addition to similar ones in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

BOOST FOR SINGAPORE

Cityneon is a home-grown company that has transformed itself into an intellectual property-focused global leader in immersive experiential entertainment from their traditional businesses... We look forward to Cityneon's contributions to enhance Singapore's attractiveness as a destination for immersive events while strengthening our design capabilities.

MS CHU SWEE YEOK, chief executive and president of EDBI, the investment arm of the Economic Development Board.

It will relocate group chief creative officer Welby Altidor here next year to build a creative team to develop multisensory experiential engagements.

EDBI is the latest Cityneon shareholder, joining the likes of Citic Capital, Mr Tan, and Hong Kong entrepreneur and investor Johnson Ko Chun Shun.

In May, Citic Capital, the investment arm of Chinese state-owned financial conglomerate Citic Group, took a 10 per cent stake in Cityneon, a move expected to ramp up its growth in North Asia.

Mr Tan said in June that the region will contribute 35 to 40 per cent of the company's bottom line in the next year or two from a single-digit percentage now.

The Citic Capital investment occurred shortly after Cityneon was privatised in February by Mr Tan and Mr Ko.

EDBI chief executive and president Chu Swee Yeok said yesterday: "Cityneon is a home-grown company that has transformed itself into an intellectual property-focused global leader in immersive experiential entertainment from their traditional businesses."

The Cityneon investment is aligned with EDBI's programme to back high-growth, Singapore-based firms in their expansion plans.

"We look forward to Cityneon's contributions to enhance Singapore's attractiveness as a destination for immersive events while strengthening our design capabilities," Ms Chu said.

Cityneon has partnered global movie studios, including The Walt Disney Company, Marvel, Hasbro, Universal Studios and Lionsgate.

The firm expects to partner more studios in the coming months for new intellectual properties (IPs), which will grant it rights to devise exclusive experiences for visitors around the world, Cityneon said.

It has toured its IPs in around 40 cities, and will be entering new centres such as Glasgow and Mumbai, where the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibitions will open later this year.

The Transformers experience will open in Dubai next year, while Jurassic World: The Exhibition will be featured in China.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2019, with the headline 'EDB's investment arm puts funds into Cityneon'. Print Edition | Subscribe