Sony Pictures will use its television joint venture in the mainland to produce localised live-action programming and hopes the new company will break even in four years. Its Beijing-based tie-up with China Film Group-owned Hua Long Film Digital Production would start pre-production by July to make television movies, light entertainment and scripted shows, Sony Pictures Television International Asia managing director Todd Miller said. Called Huaso Film/Television Digital Production, the company is the mainland's first Sino-foreign television co-production joint venture approved by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (Sarft) and the Ministry of Commerce. Since the venture was formed in November, Huaso had been approached by foreign and domestic companies for co-operation opportunities, Mr Miller said. Foreign media giants were limited to broadcasting to selected compounds and hotels only until relaxed regulations - in effect in November - allowed them to form local joint ventures. Under the new rules, foreign investors can take a maximum 49 per cent stake in production joint ventures and they must inject cash while their mainland partners will contribute production assets. 'We take a long-term strategic view for China and we are still in investment mode,' Mr Miller said. 'In three to four years, [Huaso] should be self-sustained. We are prepared to make an appropriate investment to create an ongoing and viable business.' Sony Pictures produced 5,000 hours of content worldwide last year, including 1,200 in Asia. It not only makes new programming for overseas markets, but translates classic shows into local versions. For example, it had produced Argentinian, Turkish and Indonesian versions of its 90s hit, The Nanny. 'We are looking into some Asian version of The Nanny,' Mr Miller said. 'It is one of the things we are looking at [in China], in addition to investing and developing original Chinese content.' Sarft recently said foreign firms were allowed to form separate ventures with different local partners for different programming genres. But Sony Pictures would not take advantage of the opportunity. 'We believe in marrying once and marrying well,' Mr Miller said. 'We invested a great deal of time and effort in forming the joint venture with China Film Group ... and this is our primary partnership in China.'