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China's small cities play growing role in film market


13:55, June 11, 2013

BEIJING, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The nation's small and medium-sized cities are becoming the major driving force of the domestic movie industry, and represent a massive potential growth market, China Daily reported Tuesday.

Movie ticket sales have gone crazy in the fourth-tier city of Panjin of Northeast China's Liaoning Province. The city's annual box-office revenues surged to 25.6 million yuan (4.17 million U.S. dollars) in 2012 from 2.65 million yuan a year earlier, marking a year-on-year growth of 867 percent, the report said, citing data from Beijing-based EntGroup Consulting.

In April alone, the city's CJ CGV cineplex, owned by a theater operator from the Republic of Korea, sold two million yuan's worth of tickets to 50,000 customers, said Guo Jinsheng, the manager of the theater, which opened in January.

"And that performance is growing month-on-month," added Guo.

Panjin is one of the fastest-growing third- and fourth-tier cities in terms of box-office receipts, and other cities enjoying similar growth include Langfang in Hebei Province, and Yueyang in Hunan Province, the report said.

According to a survey by EntGroup Consulting in 2012, 284 third- and fourth-tier cities accounted for 34 percent of the country's total ticket sales, while seven first-tier cities accounted for 37 percent.

The company expects the 34-percent market share to rise to 42 percent by the end of 2015, given the gradual saturation of the cinema market in first- and second-tier cities.

The report said that customers in third- and fourth-tier cities tend to prefer domestic films to imported ones. Group buying and discounts are critical to third-and fourth-tier cinemas, where consumers have less purchasing power than in the bigger cities.

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