Shenzhen International Cultural Expo, China – May 2010

It is my pleasure to have been invited to speak at the Shenzhen International Culture Expo in May. The invitation arose as a result of a meeting in London with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, who are interested in opportunities for co-development and co-production (c.f. Content Across Continents with Singapore MDA) as they look for partnerships to move the creative economy in China away from a predominantly service model when trading externally.

I’ll be taking two platforms: firstly, giving a UK perspective on the impacts of new technologies on the integration of traditional media with digital platforms (referencing the experiences of the Media Sandbox and opportunities within multiplatform and social media to extend audience engagement); and secondly, with Aardman Animations, giving an overview of the UK animation sector.

The latter is a key focus as, in partnership with UKTI China, we seek to develop a UK/China Animation Forum in Beijing in November 2010.

Whilst there are clearly regulatory issues involved with any trade into China (and recent stories such as those involving Google or Bob Dylan only serve to reinforce), the sheer scale of the market makes it increasingly hard to ignore.

China has a population of children and teenagers of 370 million and a target consumer group of about 500 million representing a huge animation market. With 4 domestic animation channels and 34 children’s channels the Chinese animation industry produced 142,700 minutes of programming in 2009 with a projected production value of  £20bn.

There is also a huge audience for games and animated messaging, China is the world’s largest cellphone market and in 2010 the value of the online games industry will reach £1.4billion (growing at 16% p.a.).

The opportunities for UK businesses however come in some of the market weaknesses – these are identified in concept development, global market exploitation and management experience – which are driving an increasing desire by the Chinese to collaborate internationally.

If you’d like any more information on my visit (I’ll also be spending 2 days in Beijing), or to discuss any potential opportunities in China email me at: mark@markleaver.net

NB: At a recent event I produced in Bristol, Karen Cheng, the UK’s lead on the Creative Sector in China gave a presentation on the opportunities within the screen industries in China – listen to the podcast

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