China is making significant investments into the Animation industry within the country in order to develop centres of excellence and business opportunity. In doing so it has created an infrastructure base, and at present, replicated an efficient “service” model as visible in other sectors of the Chinese economy.
Whilst this service model has generated inward investment into China through the provision of animation production pipelines to Western media production companies, the Chinese sector has been less successful in developing content propositions for export.
The UK has recognised global strengths in Animation and a desire continue to expand the international reach of its creative industries, especially into Asia as a rapidly expanding and increasingly technology literate marketplace.
These complementary strategic objectives therefore create an opportunity for collaboration, and UK Trade & Investment and the Chinese Ministry of Culture would like to explore potential projects to build links and trade between the Animation industries in their respective countries.
The first project under this initiative was the UK / China Animation Forum, produced through my production company Parameter in Beijing 6th December 2010, attended by 140 delegates, many of whom had travelled from other cities in China such as Shanghai and Hunan, to explore the potential for connection between British and Chinese animation businesses.
With the significant support of the Chinese Ministry of Culture an “A List” of Chinese companies joined us at the Sheraton Great Wall: Producers including China Animation Group, Shanghai Toonmax and Shanghai Fantasia; Mobile operators looking for content including Talkweb and China Mobile; and distribution and brand licensing agent U’Young, were among the speakers on the panels.
From the UK major producers and rights holders, BBC Worldwide, Hit Entertainment and Classic Media were joined by smaller independents such as Storyland, Kanoti and Gritty Realism.
Over the course of the day a mix of presentations, panel discussions exploring the opportunities and practicalities of co-production across film, TV and digital, and networking events enabled the companies to get an immediate snapshot of the market and begin to make connections which could lead to future partnerships.
With UKTI in London and Beijing I’m now planning the follow up to this successful initiative – with the current intention to hold two more events in China through 2011.