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China to Produce Record 80,000 Minutes of Cartoons
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China's cartoon industry will produce 80,000 minutes of animation this year, a sharp increase on last year's 42,700 minutes, said an official with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).

The country produced more than 50,000 minutes of cartoons from January to August this year, topping last year's total output, not to mention the country's aggregate output of cartoons from 1993 to 2003.

To increase domestic cartoon output, a series of measures have been taken.

With private capital able to take part in the animation industry since 2005, 15 national animation bases have been set up, including the Shanghai Animation Film Studio, the Sunchime Cartoon Group and China Film Group Corporation, said the official.

The SARFT has approved three cartoon channels in Beijing, Shanghai and Hunan TV stations since 2004, and more than 30 kids' channels.

Animation schools have been established in the China Communication University, Beijing Film Academy, China Academy of Art and Jilin College of the Arts, to train more professional animators, the official said.

In August, the SARFT banned foreign cartoons from prime time (5:00 PM to 8:00 PM) television programs from September 1.

The campaign of promoting domestic cartoons began in 2004, when the government told broadcasters that the Chinese cartoons had to account for at least 60 percent of cartoons shown.

Foreign cartoons, especially from Japan, are popular with China's 250 million children, and domestic animation studios are struggling to compete with a flood of imports.

Analysts say that Chinese cartoons need to be more original with better story lines. 
(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2006)


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