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Nation turns to culture to cope with financial crisis
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08:23, March 13, 2009

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China is to set up three major cultural groups to mine its wealth of culture and give a boost to the cultural industry during the financial crisis.

The plans were announced yesterday by Ouyang Jian, the vice-minister for culture, with the aim of boosting the development of the industry, as well as the nation's overall economic growth.

"We will establish first-class international companies in cartoon and animation, showbusiness and digital cultural content," he said on the sidelines of the National People's Congress (NPC) session.

He said his ministry was already in negotiations with partners to set up an animation group based in Beijing and Tianjin with 1 billion yuan ($146 million) in registered capital and a possible production value of more than 10 billion yuan.

"It means the company could go public in three to five years," he said.

The China National Oriental Song and Dance Ensemble (CNOSDE), the famous troupe founded in 1962 on the advice of former premier Zhou Enlai, will also be turned into the country's biggest showbusiness company, said Ouyang.

It will spread China's national arts worldwide and introduce Asian, African and Latin American arts to China, he said, adding: "The troupe has an annual net profit of more than 60 million yuan and we expect its revenue to reach over 1 billion after it is turned into a real company."

Also, to meet the increasing demand for digital content, the ministry will set up a company to make cultural content for the Internet and 3G mobile phones.

"It's a very promising company," he said. "It may go public or turn into a large corporation."

As the global economic slowdown hits China, the country is looking to its cultural industry to boost growth, the ministry said in its work report.

And, according to the State Administration of Statistics, since 2004, the rise in added value in the culture industry has exceeded that of the GDP over the same period. Its annual growth is about 100 billion yuan.

In 2006, the added value of the industry reached 512.3 billion yuan, a 17.1-percent increase on 2005, taking up 2.45 percent of the GDP. In 2007, it took up 2.6 percent.

"We see the financial crisis as an opportunity to develop our culture industry at home and abroad," Ouyang said, explaining that it would attract more attention from governments and investors as people needed more spiritual enjoyment during the economic recession.

Source: China Daily

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