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Chinese Movies Threatened by Hollywood
Cover Stories Series 2013> Chinese Movies Threatened by Hollywood
UPDATED: January 28, 2013 NO. 5 JANUARY 31, 2013
Learning Makes Perfect

The Chinese movie industry, in tandem with the overall pace of the country's economic and social development, has flourished considerably over the past 10 years. Having become the world's third largest film production base in 2010, China has also grown into the second largest movie market, raking in a record 17.07 billion yuan ($2.74 billion) in total box office revenue last year, up from just 920 million yuan ($148 million) in 2002.

Naturally, such vigorous growth has fed more investment into the market. With boosted production and an increasing number of screens, combined with a potential 1.3 billion member audience, the future landscape of the domestic film industry seems set for greater prosperity.

Despite the boom, however, the Chinese movie scene faces severe challenges. For one thing, most homemade films have failed to draw sufficient audience numbers to replicate the success of only a handful of imported productions. Official figures have shown that local movies accounted for only 48.46 percent of total box office revenue last year. Furthermore, the industry currently depends on ticket sales as its only source of income, while Hollywood producers make full use of their diversified business models to nab a fairly large percentage of earnings, drawn from licensed toys and popcorn as well as the distribution of DVDs and video games.

Sure enough, these and all other challenges pose as bottlenecks to the future development of the Chinese movie industry, but they should also impel local movie makers to look for more effective ways to stimulate a faster and healthier growth of the industry. To accomplish such a task, they must learn more about audience preference, taking a page from what their foreign colleagues do regarding presentation and business operation. As an old Chinese saying goes, "Stones from other hills may serve to polish the jade in hand." Drawing from the practices of a more mature movie industry will definitely help the industry at home become more competitive.

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