Chinese TV series, films popular in Africa

(People's Daily Online) 09:55, May 30, 2023

In recent years, an increasing number of outstanding Chinese TV dramas and movies have gained immense popularity among African audiences, serving as a window through which they can better understand China.

Recently, the China-Africa-Arab Audiovisual Night, an event within the Beijing TV drama and movie broadcasting season – a program hosted by the Beijing Municipal Radio and Television Bureau – was held in Beijing. During the event, segments of various Chinese TV series and films were dubbed into English, Portuguese, Swahili and other languages by artists from Africa and West Asia.

Foreign artists dub a segment of a Chinese TV drama into their local language at the China-Africa-Arab Audiovisual Night, an activity of the Beijing TV drama and movie broadcasting season held in Beijing. (Photo courtesy of StarTimes Group)

The Beijing TV drama and movie broadcasting season has been conducted annually since 2014. Through this program, over 100 outstanding Chinese TV series and movies have been broadcast in more than 30 countries and regions, including the U.K., Finland, Greece, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Tanzania. Additionally, documentaries, feature movies, and cartoons have also been aired in foreign countries.

StarTimes Group, a Chinese multinational media company headquartered in Beijing, has provided broadcasting and television services in Africa for over a decade.

According to Guo Ziqi, vice president of StarTimes, over 100 exceptional Chinese TV series and movies have been dubbed into nearly 10 languages, including English, French, Portuguese, Swahili and Hausa, for broadcast in Africa through the program.

During this year's Beijing TV drama and movie broadcasting season, African audiences can enjoy Chinese TV series such as "The Story of Zheng Yang Gate," "The Wind Blows From Longxi," "Go Ahead," "The Golden Eyes, "Good Bye, My Princess," "Sword Snow Stride," and "My Heroic Husband," along with the documentary series "Chang'an Meets Rome," and animation series "Beijing Opera Cats."

A poster of the Chinese TV drama "Go Ahead." (Photo courtesy of StarTimes Group)

"In the past, we assumed that African viewers might struggle to understand Chinese costume dramas, so we primarily selected TV series with a modern setting. But we later found that costume dramas were well-received among them," Guo said.

She added that the range of TV series being broadcast in Africa is expanding, encompassing not just teen dramas and shows set in modern times, but also military and espionage series, martial arts shows, and fantasy dramas.

"All of my family members like Chinese TV dramas such as 'A Beautiful Daughter-in-Law Era,' 'To Be a Better Man,' and 'My Physical Education Teacher.' Many of the plots of these series resonate with us because they are relatable to our daily lives," shared Paula, a young viewer from Gabon.

While watching Chinese TV series, foreign audiences can gain insights into Chinese people's lives, appreciate Chinese culture, and deepen their understanding of China.

Meanwhile, more and more Chinese TV dramas have been dubbed into local African languages to cater to the preferences of local audiences.

Since 2016, StarTimes has hosted over 20 dubbing competitions for Chinese TV series and films in African countries, including Tanzania, Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, South Africa, and Mozambique, to select dubbing artists in local languages. Thanks to these competitions, many Africans have had opportunities to work in China, dubbing TV series and movies into their native languages.

StarTimes has established a translation and dubbing center for Swahili in Tanzania and another for Zulu in South Africa and is preparing to launch a similar one in Mozambique, according to Guo.

Over the past nine years, a variety of themed activities such as exhibitions, forums and fan meetings have been held during the Beijing TV drama and movie broadcasting season in African countries, including Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Ghana, and Cote d'Ivoire. These activities have fostered closer people-to-people ties between China and Africa.

The Beijing TV drama and movie broadcasting season has become an important program for China-Africa film and TV cultural exchanges.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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