China Art and Entertainment Group (CAEG) has turned into a
cultural producer rather than an agent after a three-year reform,
according to general manager Zhang Yu.
The reform, initiated by the Chinese government, has been
carried out in 35 cultural companies, artistic troupes, publishing
houses and TV and broadcasting producers in nine provinces and
regions. the CAEG, as the largest and oldest of the 35, is
considered of great importance in the reform program.
"The reform in our company has proved successful," Zhang said,
listing a dozen brand products organized and promoted by the
company, such as the 4th and 5th "Meet in Beijing" Cultural
Festival, the 6th and 7th Asian Arts Festival, the 7th
International Chorus Competition, the 3rd China International Piano
Competition, as well as the important programs of the China-France
Culture Year, and the China Culture Festival in the United
In terms of overseas markets, Zhang said, the CAEG has
dispatched 256 shows and exhibitions and 216 artistic troupes
overseas. In 161 cities of 51 countries and regions, the CAEG has
organized 13,267 performances attracting 197.75 million people.
"Overseas performances and audiences respectively accounted for
88.1 percent and 94.1 percent of the CAEG's total," Zhang added.
"Thanks to the transformation from a state-owned agency to a
company, we have enjoyed great success against fierce international
The CAEG completed its transformation in April of 2004 by
combining China Performing Arts Agency and China International
Exhibition Agency, both of which were state-owned institutions
under the Chinese Ministry of Culture. Founded shortly after the
founding of New China, the two institutes had a long history and
rich experience in international cultural exchanges, and
established good relationship with foreign counterparts.
Zhang said the CAEG from the first day of its birth, never sat
back on the past glory of its predecessor. Instead, it took more
efforts to seek cooperation at home and overseas, and produced
original performances that netted big profits.
By joining hands with a Shanghai-based cultural company and the
Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe, the CAEG invested 30 million yuan
(around US$3.6 million) in a performance named "Era-Tour." Based on
a Chinese story, the show displayed the dazzling acrobatic skills
against the multimedia-style stage setting, thus creating
unprecedented visual effects and winning widespread acclaim.
From Sept. 27 last year to Feb. 6 this year, the net box office
revenue of the show reached 17.8 million yuan (around US$2.1
million), breaking the record of the locally made performance.
"The Era-Tour, together with several other locally made
products, has also changed the previous trend that foreign
performances always topped the box office," Zhang Yu said.
Following this product, the three parties for the "Era-Tour"
jointly launched a cultural company. The new firm recruited foreign
producers for the first time, aiming to purchase and operate the
large and international program.
"The core business of the new firm is to purchase the best ideas
for cultural production globally, and then improve the quality of
our own products at a relatively lower cost," Zhang explained,
stressing that the products will always focus on Chinese stories
with Chinese elements gaining increasing popularity worldwide.
Zhang noted that the CAEG, while lowering production costs, has
also expanded its marketing business. By introducing advanced
science and technology, it set up the largest ticket selling
network in China based on its original ticket department. In 2005,
large investment was put into setting up branches of the ticket
offices in big cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing and
Zhang revealed that the CAEG would invite foreign investment in
ticket sales for a chain-store-like ticket network covering the
Tasting the sweet fruit of the transformation, the CAEG also
took steps to set up share-holding companies with well-known local
performing arts agencies, publishing houses, artistic troupes. The
business scale of the CAEG has covered a wide range of subjects
including publishing, embroidery, auction, as well as some folk
arts and culture.
"Such cooperation promoted the brand and competitiveness of the
CAEG, and is conducive to running comprehensive programs in the
long run," Zhang said.
In recent years, the cultural industry in China has seen a boom
with the rapid growth of the national economy and surging demand
from the Chinese people. Latest statistics from the Chinese Academy
of Social Sciences showed that in the last two years, cultural
consumption by Chinese people amounted to 700 billion yuan (around
(Xinhua News Agency March 28, 2006)