Local authorities are planning to spend up to 180 million yuan ($24.9 million) a year over the next four years to aid the development of the comics and animation industry, officials have said.
"There is a promising market for the comics and animation industry as the city has introduced a series of preferential policies to support and develop the industry," Fan Xu, director of the Guangzhou press, publication, and radio and television (copyright) bureau, said earlier this week.
Guangzhou is home to more than 120 comics and animation companies, which generate combined annual revenues of more than 10 billion yuan, about a fifth of the nation's total, Fan said.
"Of the planned investment, we will spend about 20 million yuan a year on nurturing new talent, and a further 30 million yuan on awards and recognition for original comics and animation products," he said.
Fan said the city has also approved four comics and animation development parks.
"Within the parks, we will develop a sound comics and animation industrial cluster, with a number of large-scale companies," he said.
The city government will also expand international cooperation and attract more talent to boost its industry.
"Guangzhou is expecting to expand its cooperation with neighboring Hong Kong in developing the cartoon industry in the future," Fan said.
A number of leading cartoonists have said that as well as developing international cooperation, domestic animation and comics should focus on traditional Chinese culture, rather than just imitate foreign publications.
"Only by depicting traditional Chinese culture can domestic animators and comic artists find a way to compete with their foreign counterparts," Cai Zhizhong, a popular cartoonist based in Taiwan, said in an interview with China Daily.
"Cartoons speak in a language that not only expresses satire and humor, but also reflects love and spirit.
"I am particularly fond of ancient Chinese philosophies, so I create cartoons out of them," Cai said.
Jin Cheng, the chief editor of the Guangzhou-based Comic fans magazine, said: "Unfortunately, some domestic works are just copies of overseas products, especially those produced in Japan and the Republic of Korea."
(China Daily January 24, 2008)