China steps up support for culture industry

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 30, 2011
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China is trying to increase the contribution of culture sector to the national economy while its leadership prioritized cultural development at a key session this month.

The output of culture industry is aimed to account for 5 percent of China's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, said Minister of Culture Cai Wu, adding that the culture industry should be "a pillar of the national economy."

The percentage in 2010 was 2.78 percent, he said.

Last week, the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) approved a guideline on boosting reform of the cultural sector and cultural development at its sixth plenary session.

The guideline pledged to beef up support for the culture industry and make it a more important part of the national economy.

Both the central and local governments have mapped out their goals of cultural development in next years.

The southernmost island province of Hainan has planned to increase the value-added output of its cultural industry to more than 8 percent of its GDP in 2020, and northeastern Jilin Province expects the ratio to reach 6 percent by the end of 2015.

Cai noted that the key to boost cultural development is to invest more.

Culture industry will gain more support in terms of bank loans, government spending, taxation and land use, he said.

Banks have begun to show their supports over the past two years.

Statistics from the China Development Bank showed that, by September, it has granted loans of 105 billion yuan (about 23.62 billion U.S. dollars) to projects related to art, tourism, sport, film and TV production, and publication.

The Bank of Shanghai approved loans of more than 40 million yuan to four culture projects including the Chinese version of the classic musical "Mamma Mia!"

It is also negotiating with cultural companies such as Shanghai Media Group for more loans.

"It is difficult for culture companies to expand business with their own capital. They need bank loans," said Huang Gaojian, president of an animation production company in southeastern Fujian Province. The company has recently produced an animation TV serial with 9 million yuan in loans from the Fujian provincial branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Besides more capital inflow, increasing government spending is highly necessary for the culture industry development, Cai said.

In 2010, governments at all levels invested more than 150 billion yuan in cultural development, doubling that of 2006.

Governments of Beijing, Jilin and Hainan have all set up special funds for culture projects, and the investment has expanded year by year.

In addition, cultural companies have also received discount government loans, subsidies and enjoyed some preferential policies of land use and listing in stock market.

As a result of financial and policy supports, culture industry in China has grown at a rate even faster than the growth of GDP.

In 2010, the total output of culture industry in China hit 1.1 trillion yuan and, in some cities and provinces, the ratio has surpassed 5 percent.

In some regions, the culture industry has already become a mainstay of the local economy, Cai said.

To boost culture industry at a national scale, the government will increase the investment and further facilitate financing for the culture industry, he said.

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