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Beijing Review Exclusive
Special> 18th CPC National Congress> Beijing Review Exclusive
UPDATED: November 12, 2012 Web Exclusive
Thinking on the Bright Side
Greater competition prescribed for domestic filmmakers
By Zan Jifang

Tian Jin, Deputy Director of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, attends a press conference in Beijing on November 11, a sideline of the ongoing 18th national congress of the Communist Party of China (CHINA.ORG.CN)

Greater numbers of foreign films may spell cloudy skies for the domestic film industry, but it is up to Chinese producers to find and apply the silver lining to the silver screen.

The Chinese film industry has to enhance their creativity so as to compete with foreign films, said Tian Jin, Deputy Director of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television at a press conference in Beijing on November 11, a sideline of the ongoing 18th national congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The Chinese film industry is facing greater pressure in the domestic market, as a result of the memorandum regarding films signed by China and the United States in February 2012. According to the memorandum, the quota of foreign films imported to China has been increased. This has been a big blow to Chinese film industry and made competition fiercer.

"After the signing of the memorandum, the number and proportion of revenue sharing of U.S. films in the Chinese market have been increased by a wide margin, bringing handsome profits to the U.S. film industry but also increasing pressure on and posing a challenge to the Chinese film industry," Tian said at the press conference on China's cultural system reform and construction of public cultural service system.

He pointed out that although the quantity of Chinese films has continued to increase this year, their share of the domestic market has been shrinking.

"By the end of October this year, China has produced 638 films, and their box office takings nationwide stood at 13.27 billion yuan ($2.1 billion), exceeding that of the entire year of 2011 and up 40 percent year on year. But their market share was only 41.4 percent, much lower than that over the same period. The dominance of domestic films in the Chinese film market has been shaken," Tian said.

Tian admitted that the increase of the quota for foreign films is behind the hard times for the domestic film industry.

He encouraged Chinese film makers to face up to the challenge and produce more competitive films that are welcomed by the audience and the market as well.

The 18th CPC National Congress set new principles for the development of cultural programs, and the government will work to enhance the creativity of domestic film production following the guideline, Tian said. "We will endeavor to produce intellectually and artistically excellent films for the people."

At the same time, he said the government will also be engaged in building more theaters and cinemas in the future. In 2011, there were more than 9,200 screens in China, and the number is expected to grow in coming years.

With regard of the release schedule of films, Tian said it is a market act, and the government will never interfere with it. "Just as many foreign films avoid release during Chinese festivals, this is a commercial decision in the pursuit of profit."

He stressed that there is a clear channel for foreign films to enter the Chinese market.

"The signing of the Sino-U.S. memorandum shows the Chinese Government's firm stance to uphold reform and opening up and shows the good will of the Chinese film industry to seek common development with their counterparts of other countries, including that of the Unites States," he said, adding that this also speaks to the fact that the Chinese Government strictly abides by its commitments to the World Trade Organization.

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