Universal Music Asia Pacific (UMAP) has teamed up with the Shanghai Media Group (SMG), China's second-largest media conglomerate, to launch a new entertainment company called SUM Entertainment.

Universal Music Asia Pacific (UMAP) has teamed up with the Shanghai Media Group (SMG), China's second-largest media conglomerate, to launch a new entertainment company called SUM Entertainment.

Billed as the first joint venture between a Chinese mainland media company and an international music company, the Shanghai-based SUM will focus primarily on mainland artist and repertoire development, and will be active in sponsorship marketing, new media, mobile business, television-advertised products and DVD releases.

SMG -- which has interests in television and radio stations, magazines, newspapers, Web sites and sports teams -- will hold a 51% stake in the new venture, with the remainder held by UMAP. Carol Choi, former regional marketing director at UMAP, has been named GM of SUM Entertainment, reporting to the SUM board.

Universal will continue to release its product in mainland China under its own imprints, while acts signed to SUM will be released under a new label to be established by the joint venture. The first releases under the deal are expected to be announced soon.

"I think it's a powerful combination," says Universal Music Southeast Asia president Harry Hui. "The primary goal for us is to create good music in China first. We'll look for the best artists in all genres. We're genre-agnostic." Hui describes SUM as a "whole new Chinese entertainment vision that will bring a 360-degree music experience to consumers."

SUM plans to eventually export and market its leading artists. Hui and SMG president Li Ruigang have also discussed the possibility of using their combined resources to bring Western acts to the mainland.