Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

`Ip Man' Investor Sinks 37% Amid Reports of Chinese Probe

  • Shares tumble by a record in H.K. after surging almost 700%
  • Xinhua New Agency says watchdog examining box office sales

Shifang Holding Ltd., which owns rights to the "Ip Man 3" martial-arts film, plunged by a record in Hong Kong trading after Chinese media reported the government is investigating whether the movie’s box-office receipts have been artificially inflated via ticketing fraud.

The stock tumbled 37 percent to close at HK$1.19 in Hong Kong, taking its losses this week to 67 percent. Shares in the Fujian province-based company had surged almost 700 percent in the previous five months.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported this week that the film-industry watchdog is probing allegations of fraud after the movie, which stars Donnie Yen and Mike Tyson, raked in more than 500 million yuan ($77 million) within four days after its debut. The Xinhua report didn’t say where it got the information.

On Tuesday, Shifang said in a statement that it doesn’t participate in any distribution or release activities of the film and that some online media reports about the movie’s box office results in China may have "greatly affected the reputation of the company."

Shifang is entitled to 55 percent of the movie’s net box office income in China, according to the statement.

Representatives at Shifang and China’s State Administration of Press, Publication Radio, Film and Television didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Late last month, the publishing and advertising company named "Ip Man 3" producer Shi Jianxiang as its chairman and days later issued a press release discussing the stock’s surge over the past few months. Shi, 51, is also chairman of Shanghai Kuailu Investment Group Co. and served as a member of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, according to Shifang.

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