Shanghai, one of China’s main economic centers, has already
successfully established a number of creative districts. Following
the establishment of 36 creative industry areas last year, the
Shanghai Creative Industry Centre held a ceremony on May 20 to mark
the founding of a new cluster of such sites. The whole number of
creative industry bases in the city now stands at approximately
Although the expression “creative industry” was imported to
China not long ago, it was accepted and deployed immediately around
the country. And the infant industry is growing up rapidly and
along with it a new economic era.
Since the beginning of the year major cities like Beijing,
Nanjing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Xi’an and Chengdu
have all been involved in setting up their own creative industry
zones and have an eye to making such enterprises the new engine for
In February, construction work on a creative industry zone
called “Window of the World” got underway in Nanjing, capital city
of east China’s
Jiangsu Province. The zone, expected to be operational in
September, will be the city’s first creative industrial base. The
municipal government plans to set up a further 10 such areas over
the next three to five years.
Shandong Province, “Creation 100”, the province’s first
creative industrial zone which will feature advertising, design,
film and television businesses, is now under construction in
Qingdao, a major city of Shandong.
In Beijing, in addition to the “Beijing Creative Center” in
Dongcheng District, construction of five new such districts is
underway, said an official from the Beijing Municipal Development
and Reform Commission. They’re located at Shijingshan Digital
Amusement Base, Zhongguancun Pioneering Base, the National New
Media Base, Deshengyuan Creative Base of Industrial Design and
Dashanzi Arts Center.
“In the development wave of creative industries, government is
the most important driving force,” said Dr Wang Qin from the
Industrial Economy Institute of Chinese Academy of Social
Sciences. “The strategy of building an innovative
country proposed by the central government provides a good climate
for creative business.”
The strategy has been warmly welcomed by local governments. Many
of them including Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing have written
“developing creative industries” into their municipal 11th
five-year plans (2006-2010). Beijing has listed the “cultural
creative industry” as one of the cornerstone industries and aims to
make the city the country’s “capital of creative industry”. And
Shanghai wishes to become an “international creative industrial
center” alongside the likes of London, New York and Tokyo.
“The current global economy has entered a deeper revolutionary
phase of a knowledge-based economy,” said Dr Wang. “In fact
developing creative industries is the inevitable option to help
accelerate China’s economic transformation,” he added.
Creativity can emerge in all economic activities. Creative
business has two key components -- creation and knowledge. Such
businesses cover design, animation, architecture, the arts,
advertising, film and television production, media, software and
International experience shows that developing creative
enterprises can be a successful step for optimizing the national
product mix and enhancing international competitiveness. According
to experts, Britain was the world’s first country to boost the
creative industry’s development with government support. Since 1998
the UK creative industry has cultivated 120,000 enterprises and
many of them completed the tricky transformation from manufacturing
to creativity. In fact the output value of creative industries has
surpassed the contribution made by manufacturers to GDP.
“The creative industry is emerging in China against the
background of global consumption and serves to meet people’s needs
in cultural, arts, intellectual and amusement products,” said Prof.
Jin Yuanpu from the Renmin University of China.
It appears that investment-driven economic success is no longer
an absolute requirement with China attaching significant importance
to boosting economic development through expanding the power of the
purchaser. At the same time China is changing from a
supply-oriented to a demand led economy.
Prof. Jin said that developing creative industries could exploit
new markets and identify new consumers.
Experts have suggested that as China is new to the creative
scene, the basic foundations must be established quickly to allow
the industry to grow.
“Government should act as an engine in developing the industry,”
said Dr. Wang Qin. He added that government’s role should be
working out strategies and plans for creative industries, setting
policy orientation, providing space for development and reasons for
(China.org.cn by Zhang Tingting, May 28, 2006)