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Coronavirus outbreak prompts China’s cultural industry to rethink how it does business

(People's Daily Online)    13:54, February 26, 2020

China’s cultural industry is being forced to rethink its development model in the wake of the temporary impact being brought by the sudden novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Palace Museum (Photo/

The Chinese Lunar New Year holiday is traditionally a big money-making period for movies, but box office takings saw a huge drop after several films scheduled for release over the holiday cancelled their big screen openings, while films currently under production have all been halted.

China also cancelled or postponed 20,000 performances from January to March, according to the China Association of Performing Arts. In addition, the country has closed its libraries, museums, art galleries and other public cultural institutions.

This temporary market shock reflects the weaknesses in the traditional way business is done in the cultural industry, by relying too much on offline activities.

Faced with the difficulty, China’s cultural industry needs to join forces with the Internet and come up with new models of development.

Some have been quick to embrace the Internet, such as the film “Lost in Russia”. Its producers decided to screen the movie online, creating a new distribution channel for the Chinese film industry.

Meanwhile, the National Centre for the Performing Arts of China has rolled out online programs offering art programs to the public free of charge. Chinese museums, including the Palace Museum, have also introduced a series of online exhibitions, giving people the chance to enjoy a cultural feast from their own homes.

On Feb. 16, the National Ballet of China launched an online ballet class, teaching some basic moves that people can practice at home. In addition, the Guangzhou Opera House in south China’s Guangdong province rolled out online art lectures given by celebrities including singers, composers and writers for its members.

In the future, China’s cultural industry is looking to give equal emphasis to both online and offline commercial activities to mitigate potential risks like the coronavirus outbreak.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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