China's film and animation market eyeing more international presence
Updated 19:26, 12-Jan-2019
By Mi Jiayi
China's entertainment industry is now catching on in one of the most profitable markets in the world, the cinema. Instead of merely pursuing lucrative benefits, Chinese films are introducing their diversified scenes to the world audience.
Two Chinese films, "Operation Red Sea" and "Dying to Survive" are among some of the most successful domestic exports this year.
Big events like the Shanghai International Film Festival are also working hard to take Chinese films into international markets. In June this year, it launched a "Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance," setting up long-term exchanges with other countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
"When working with other film festivals, we found a new approach – holding new film screenings in other countries outside the film festivals. So we're bringing Chinese films not only to people going to film festivals, but also to ordinary audiences in those regions,” said Fu Wenxia, managing director of Shanghai International Film Festival.
Film poster of "Dying to Survive." /VCG Photo

Film poster of "Dying to Survive." /VCG Photo

Fu said the most popular Chinese films internationally are those that reflect real life in China. Meanwhile, Chinese cartoons and comics are also going overseas. One of the most famous Chinese animations to be shown internationally is "The Legend of Qin." Five years after its first showing in China, it was released in South Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.
Companies in the industry are now working out ways to attract more foreign viewers to Chinese animations. Zhang Liang in Shanghai is one of them. His team is working on promoting a comic series called “Zero” in overseas markets, and it's already been released in Japan, South Korea and Europe.
"What we are doing now is working with local publications and editors to understand their culture and find out what their audiences like. Then we can relate our work to these markets. The communications and prep work takes up at least half a year. But it works. Audiences both domestic and foreign can understand our work,” said Zhang Liang, editor in chief of Shanghai Huan Ma Culture Media Co.
Zhang added that while not many Chinese animations have been exported so far, domestic animated firms are now actively taking part in comics' conferences around the world to look for opportunities to cooperate with foreign producers.
Government support is also playing a part. In cities like Hangzhou and Guangzhou, local government has worked out beneficial policies for local cartoon firms. It's estimated that China's animation industry had a market value of 130 billion yuan in 2016.