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Creative Forum Stresses Public Access

Experts at a forum in Shanghai on Friday focusing on creative industries such as advertising, architecture and design and intellectual property protection said the government should strike a balance between protecting the rights of Chinese creatives and enabling the public to have greater access to their work.


"We need a system which maximizes access, which is in everyone's interest, and also enables creative people to have a reasonable reward from their work," said John Howkins, governor of the London Film School and author of The Creative Economy.


As China's creative industries are still in their infancy, said Hua Jian, a Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS) professor, the country needs to spread information in order to inspire creativity.


"We have to popularize knowledge first and then expect people to be more creative," he said, adding that a free environment is ideal for artists to come up with new ideas, but Shanghai must be pragmatic.


"Our creative industries are not as developed as those in industrialized countries," said Hua. "We have to set up a kind of 'hotbed' in order for our artists to grow."


Last year, Shanghai's creative industries created 49.3 billion yuan (US$6.1 billion) in added value, 6.6 percent of its GDP.


Xu Jianguo, director of Shanghai Economic Commission, said the city aims to raise that ratio to 10 percent by 2010.


Xu also announced the opening of another 18 licensed creative industry areas, following the first batch of 18 in April. The new batch covers more than 30 hectares and is mostly located in Shanghai's old industrial areas.


The first 18, housing more than 800 companies from all over the world, feature firms involved in design, games and software design, media and fashion.


Friday's forum was part of Shanghai's international creative industry week, which will end tomorrow.


In 2003, China's creative industries created an added value of 357.7 billion yuan (US$44 billion). Worldwide, the creative economy was estimated at US$2.9 trillion this year and is expected to be worth US$4.1 trillion in 2010.


(China Daily December 5, 2005)

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