Beijing's ACG market to double as 13th Five-Year Plan period concludes

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The output value of Beijing's animation, comic and game (ACG) industry grew by 30% to more than 50 billion yuan (about $7.47 billion) in the first half of 2020, according to statistics from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism and Beijing Animation & Game Industry Alliance. 

The total value is expected to surpass the 100-billion-yuan mark by the end of 2020 as China's 13th Five-Year Plan period concludes, doubling the city's ACG market from 2016 when it was worth 52.1 billion yuan.

Beijing's ACG market has seen robust growth over the past five years, especially in terms of exports. Back in 2016, the city's exports of original online games amounted to just over 6 billion yuan, whereas the figure in 2019 reached 35.25 billion yuan, accounting for 43.72% of the country's total export revenue in the industry.

The ACG industry, which combines modern technology with the arts, is closely related to the cultural needs of the younger generation. Over the past five years, the industry has witnessed significant developments in this field, including a peak in the growth of the traditional game industry, the rise of esports, and the rapid growth of products utilizing existing intellectual property (IP).

For example, 2017 was a milestone year for the "pan-entertainment" industry as multiple popular Chinese IP products were adapted into video games. This inspired more companies to increase integration between online games, literature, films and TV series, as well as animation and comics.

Meanwhile, in 2018, serious games came to the fore. In contrast with traditional video games, serious games emphasize learning or practicing a skill, and are often related with such sectors as education, military, health care, business, culture and social management. Such games are usually educational, and can help make certain knowledge more accessible. As such, many leading game companies have joined hands with universities to develop high quality serious games.

China saw an upsurge in its animated film industry in 2019, with the sector reaching the 10-billion-yuan level. The box office for Chinese animated movies, including White Snake, Ne Zha, and the Legend of Luo Xiaohei, totaled 5.73 billion yuan.

This year has seen a rise in the esports related industry as business models such as esports game operations, competitions, education and offline esports consumption achieving rapid development. In addition, a pan-ACGN (animation, comics, games and novels) culture has made designer toys a new way for the younger generation to express their personality. Leading enterprises in Beijing, including Pop Mart, 52Toys and Block 12, have added new momentum for the growing ACG market.

The recently concluded 9th Animation Beijing expo brought together 150,000 ACG fans in Beijing's Shijingshan district, with on-site sales during the eight-day event exceeding 10 million yuan. Events such as these are not only an attempt to transform cultural tourism, they also offer a possible direction for the rapid development of the ACG industry over the next five years.

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