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Record 81,000 Minutes of Cartoons Produced in 2006
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The cartoon industry in China produced more than 81,000 minutes of animation this year, almost double the 42,700 minutes of 2005, said an official with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) at a meeting to mark the 80th anniversary of China's cartoon production.


China produced more than 50,000 minutes of cartoon images from January to August this year. This topped last year's total production and the country's aggregate output of cartoons from 1993 to 2003.


In recent years China has exported 65,100 minutes of cartoons to 17 countries and regions, said Zhao Shi, deputy director of SARFT. He explained that a series of measures had been taken to increase the output of domestic cartoons.


Since 2005 private capital has being playing a part in the country's animation industry. Fifteen national animation centers have opened including the Shanghai Animation Film Studio, the Sunchime Cartoon Group and the China Film Group Corporation. And 5,473 animation studios had been founded in China by October 2006, said Zhao.


The SARFT has also approved cartoon channels on Beijing, Shanghai and Hunan TV stations since 2004 and over 30 kids' stations. Animation departments have been established in 447 universities and a further 1,230 universities offered professional training for cartoonists, Zhao explained.


"Some 64,000 students majoring in animation have graduated from universities and 466,000 were studying in colleges at the end of 2005," he 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 to promote domestic cartoons started in 2004 when the government told broadcasters that Chinese cartoons had to account for at least 60 percent of those screened.


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 Chinese cartoons need to be more original with better story lines.


China made its first ever 12-minute cartoon in 1926.


(Xinhua News Agency December 31, 2006)

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