Three years into the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement
(CEPA), China has eased restrictions on access to the mainland
market for Hong Kong's film and television industry, a senior
official said here Thursday.
Zhao Shi, deputy director with the State Administration of
Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), said at a news briefing that
quota restrictions on the number of Hong Kong films in the mainland
market have been largely lifted.
Hong Kong films were previously classified as international and
only 20 foreign productions a year were allowed on the
Films produced by Hong Kong companies can now be distributed on
the mainland provided they have been imported by the China Film
Group Corporation and gone through the film censorship process,
according to Zhao.
Hong Kong companies were previously restricted to building just
one cinema on the mainland, but are now allowed to open multiplexes
either on their own or with joint venture partners.
About 14 cinemas on the mainland are operated or partly owned by
Hong Kong companies and all are doing well, Zhao said.
Films co-produced by Hong Kong and mainland companies can now
draw up to two thirds of their talent from Hong Kong, much more
than in the past, Zhao added.
Altogether 29 films were co-produced by Hong Kong and mainland
companies last year, triple the number of co-productions before
CEPA came into force in 2003, figures from the SARFT show.
Television co-productions also enjoy easy access to the mainland
market, according to Zhao. They can be screened directly on the
mainland and restrictions on length - limited to 40 episodes
previously - have also been lifted.
Zhao also said that Hong Kong cable TV network operators are now
allowed to provide technological support to Guangdong Province to
develop their networks.
(China Daily September 15, 2006)