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  Why the power of culture means culture is power  

At the same time, a group of private cultural companies have also grown very fast such as Shanghai Shengda Internet Development Co.Ltd, Yunnan Lishui Jinsha Performing Arts Co. Ltd and a number of famous original cultural projects with Chinese characteristics such as the Impression Series shows directed by Zhang Yimou, the popular animation Pleasant Sheep and Big Big Wolf are produced. What’s more, Ministry of Culture also supports to establish four national model zones and 137 national model bases of the cultural industry.

Borrowing the methods that used in the economic reform, the government welcomes and encourages the private capital, foreign capital and risk investment to invest in the cultural sector. Both private and state-run cultural enterprises, such as film and TV program studios, entertainment agencies and record companies, would enjoy the same treatment, said the Minister. “Only if the domestic cultural industry develops well, government and the companies can provide a friendly national public cultural service and people’s cultural quality are well natured and raised, we can increase China’s `soft power’ indeed,” Cai told China Daily.

“We have a long way to go but it’s the essential prerequisite when we talk about China’s culture `going global’ and the international impact of China’s culture.”

The Minister gave an example that China now produces 120 thousand minutes of animation films every year, but among them, most are just “processing” for Japanese or South Korean companies. “It is like Chinese factories made Adidas. We do processing while they give orders and ideas. But people all know Adidas is not Chinese. Therefore we must change the situation. Chinese people are smart. We are not lacking in innovative ideas, neither creative talents. If we have a mature industry, better environment and coordinated laws and regulations, we can produce animations as good as those of Japan and South Korea,” said Cai.

He also pointed out that the cultural impact also depends on the impact of publicity. Currently, China’s ability in communication and promotion is weaker. We are not good at transforming the rich cultural sources into sell-well products and friendly culture services.

He also gave examples that thousands of talented Chinese acrobats perform with Cirque du Soleil and in Las Vegas, but audience usually know the company, the show instead of Chinese acrobats. Similarly, every year Ministry of Culture sends abroad many Chinese shows ranging from Peking Opera, dance, martial arts and others as cultural exchange programs, most of them are well received in the West but very few do commercial performances.

“One of the bottle-neck of the development of culture industry is that we are short of talents and professionals who both know well of arts and culture and the marketing and management. No matter selling shows abroad or develop domestic show business and market, we are badly need such professionals.”

“So on the one hand, we should spend effort and money in training our own professionals or employ talents from abroad, on the other, we can collaborate with the experienced Western companies so that we can share their experience as well as their marketing channels abroad,” said the Minister.

By Chen Jie

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