China to Expand Radio, TV & Film Industries

To meet the economic globalization and China's WTO accession, China will seize every opportunity possible to expand the radio, TV and film industries, said a Chinese government official during the session of the 5th International Film & TV Market (FilMart) in Hong Kong.

Hu Zhanfan, deputy general director of the State Administration of Radio, Film & TV of China (SARFT), who attended the FilMart held on June 27-29, discussed the challenges China's radio, TV and film industries will face once China enters the WTO and the reforms that will be carried out in a seminar on "Chinese TV and Film Development and Future."

Hu said, "we have actually already begun reforms in film distribution, release and marketing."

"The focus of the reform is to explore the chain theater system, to break regional barriers and unreasonable market monopolies, and to establish a framework of multiple distribution channels," he added.

Hu said China plans to establish six large group companies in the next five years aimed at concentrating capital and human resources to meet the international standards.

At present, China has already established five group companies and three major film production bases which are in Beijing, Shanghai and Changchun respectively.

According to Hu, in the past two decade, China's mainland has produced about 2,700 films and imported more than 800 foreign films.

The annual movie output in China is now at about 100, and in 2000, box office sales in China reached 960 million yuan (US$116 million).

In addition, with increasing popularity of radio and television, China's mainland produces 7,000 TV series every year and imports more than 1,000 from overseas.

Hu said, under the bilateral agreement signed between SAPFT and the US on China's accession to the WTO, China will import 20 foreign films every year in the form of separate accounts as long as they conform to China's "Regulation on Film Management."

And foreign investors will be allowed to participate in the construction and renovation of movie theaters as long as their investment does not exceed 49 percent.

"The continuous development of China's broadcasting and film industries cannot be separated from exchanges with our counterparts in other countries," Hu said.

He said, "Now that we are in a new century and well into a new information age, we have every reason to believe that such exchange and cooperation will further expand."

(Xinhua 06/30/2001)

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