Chinese media and culture heading abroad

08:36, April 29, 2010      

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Country aims to establish 'a batch of world-famous cultural brands'

BEIJING - China will boost the development of its cultural and media industries abroad to reduce its big cultural deficit, senior officials have said.

In a report about China's cultural industry development delivered to the top legislature on Wednesday, Minister of Culture Cai Wu said China plans to expand the export of its cultural products and promote Chinese culture abroad.

Favorable policies on the export of cultural products and services, in terms of market expansion, technical innovation and customs clearance, will be issued or fully implemented, he told the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

Cultural products and services with strong Chinese characteristics, including music, acrobatic and dance shows, exhibitions, radio and TV programs, publications and cartoons, will receive particular support from the government, he said.

"We aim to establish a batch of world-famous cultural brands," Cai said.

Domestic cultural enterprises are encouraged to set up overseas branches through single proprietorship, joint ventures, holding interests and equity participation. Officials also encouraged their participation in overseas art festivals, movie exhibitions and book fairs, he said.

Although the export of China's cultural products and services has been on the rise in recent years, the country still has a "remarkably" high trade deficit in the sector, Cai said.

"Take performances as an example. The annual income of China's overseas commercial performances has not even reached $100 million, which is even less than that of a single popular foreign circus," he said.

Chinese cultural enterprises are facing a comparatively narrower exporting channel, and the export price is far lower than that of similar imported products, he said.

The plan follows a guideline to boost the country's media industry abroad issued in January by the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP).

The guideline encourages domestic publication companies to invest abroad by establishing overseas branches, initiating media takeovers and working with foreign counterparts as partners.

Books, newspapers, periodicals, electronic publishing, audio, video and the Internet are all included in the guideline. Fields involved are printing and publication, said Zhang Fuhai, director of GAPP's foreign exchange and cooperation department.

The government is putting in full efforts to help realize the goal of "media going-out," including policy, resources, information and other services, Zhang said.

Private businesses

The guideline also encourages and supports private enterprises' exporting businesses.

"In the past there was no room left for private enterprises in the publication exporting-importing business. Now we're granting full openness to the exporting part, meaning GAPP will not censor the exported items," Zhang said.

Yet the enterprises are hoping for more.

Hu Guochen, director of the People's Medical Publishing House (PMPH), said a more well-rounded policy system is key for publication companies to have success abroad.

As one of the first publishing houses that expanded abroad, the PMPH set up its US branch in September 2008, which also manages a Canadian publishing house it acquired in the same year.

Hu said he hoped to see further improvements on the policy details to make their overseas business easier.

"As a government officer, I'm only allowed to go abroad twice a year, which makes it hard for me to manage the US branch as its president of the board," he said.

He also wants more convenience in handling the finances of an international company, Hu said.

He hoped the PMPH could have more freedom in hiring talent from all over the world. The PMPH currently hires foreign editors majoring in Chinese medicine to help with the publishing of traditional Chinese medicine books in various languages.

"Opening up international markets is not a one-day job. There is too much to be considered - policies, talents and financial problems," he said.

Source:China Daily


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