Dolby Laboratories has teamed up with Chinese brands to target more Chinese consumers－not only in the cinema, but also at home and on the go.
Five years ago, the San Francisco-based company launched the latest audio technology Dolby Atmos, which precisely places and moves sound around in three-dimensional space. Since then, it has been promoting the entertainment technology in the Chinese market.
So far, 22 Dolby Cinemas, which combine Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision laser projection, have opened in China in partnership with Wanda Cinema Line, Jacky Chan Cinema and other theater operators since the debut of Dolby Cinema in China last June.
The company has also been working with Chinese original equipment manufacturers to expand what the company calls its "immersive" and "emotive" experience to home audience and mobile device users.
"China has some of the most innovative and large-scale manufacturers and brands around the world. The global impact of those brands is incredibly important," said Bob Borchers, Dolby's senior vice-president and CMO.
Lenovo has launched the Y720 gaming PC, the world's first Dolby Atmos Windows-based PC. Huawei has shipped a new series of Matebook laptops featuring the world's first Dolby Atmos Sound System, a system that combines Dolby speakers and software to deliver surround sound from a PC.
Dolby Vision TVs, which deliver high range with enhanced color technology and a higher contrast ratio than other image technologies, have been adopted by TCL and Skyworth. Oppo currently has a Dolby Vision-enabled product on the market.
Following iQIYI, a Chinese video streaming website that launched the first Atmos mobile content in the world two years ago, Tencent is beginning to deliver content in Dolby Atmos, according to the company.
Just as important as the Chinese partnerships is "what's going on within the local market", Borchers said.
"The China market is dynamic, phenomenal and it has got its own ecosystem of content that is incredibly important for us," he said.
"One of the most important things we've done in broadcast with surround sound is The Voice of China, a popular Chinese reality talent show," he said.
That's also the reason why Dolby is geared up to quickly expand Dolby Cinema locations in China, he said.
Wanda, Dolby's largest partner in China and the world, plans to open at least 100 Dolby Cinema movie theaters by the end of 2018, two years earlier than originally planned.
Despite Wanda's recent funding turmoil and lackluster growth in China's box office revenue, Dolby sees China as a "fundamentally" and "incredibly" important market.
"The cinema market in China is rich and vibrant, and there's a huge culture of moviegoing. People want to have the best cinema experience," Borchers said. "In China, we still see the moviegoers being a really passionate audience and ultimately a great business".