US film maker Eastman Kodak has not given up on hopes of forging a relationship with the nation's only film producer, China Lucky Film Co Ltd.
"Talking with Lucky is what we did, are doing and will continue to do,'' said Henri Petit, chairman and president of Kodak's Asia-Pacific operations.
Petit said he had met with Du Changtao, general manager of Lucky, several times.
Lucky is reported to be seeking to establish a co-operative venture with Kodak's global rival Fuji Photo Film Co Ltd, but the two parties have not yet reached an agreement.
Kodak and Lucky have been in negotiations about potential business opportunities for years, but both sides have insisted on taking a controlling share in any joint venture.
Petit said that Kodak could be flexible on the operation of any co-operative venture.
"We are open to different types of co-operation,'' Petit said. "There are many fields in which we can co-operate and co-operation could take different forms. Joint ventures will not necessarily be the best choice.''
But Du insisted that one of Lucky's principles in any business co-operation is to hold a controlling interest.
Zhang Gu, spokesman for Lucky, said talks were continuing with Kodak.
"But what we are talking about now is not to establish a joint venture, but to seek co-operation in other fields,'' he said.
Petit said his company, which has invested US$1.2 billion in China, is looking for new investment opportunities.
"The investment will go not only into the manufacturing sector, but also the marketing sector,'' he said.
The company plans to provide more services at its 6,000 Kodak Express Stores across the nation.
"Our goal for growth in China is to beat China's gross domestic product growth rate,'' Petit said.
He declined to give detailed information about his company's revenue in China.
Its investment programme in China, which started in 1998, has enabled Kodak to become a leader in China's imaging market, especially the colour film market.
It has established manufacturing bases for film, paper and medical x-ray film in Xiamen, Shantou and Wuxi.China has grown from Kodak's 17th to second biggest market in the world.
It is expected to replace the US as a leading consumer of film products by 2010.
Kodak is the most popular film brand in China, according to a survey conducted in 35 major Chinese cities last year by an investigation centre affiliated with the China Central Television.
(China Daily 04/03/2001)