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Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: December 7, 2009 NO. 49 DECEMBER 10, 2009
The Value of Ideas
Beijing has big ambitions to boost its culture and creative industry


POWERFUL IDEAS: A water-drop-shaped electric vehicle on display at the Fourth China Beijing International Cultural and Creative Industry Expo on November 30 (TANG ZHAOMING) 

The Fourth China Beijing Interna-tional Cultural and Creative Industry Expo, held on November 26-30, showcased the latest technological developments and Chinese culture and aimed to build platforms for the trade of cultural products and services.

Cooperative agreements totaling more than $12 billion have been signed since 2006.

The expo featured 18 exhibitions focused on domestic cultural and creative industries, broadcasting, film and television, Taipei cultural industries, cultural relics and museum-related products. A number of other activities were also held, including forums, promotions, trade fairs and art performances.

"We hope that we can promote these grand events as well as our own company through this expo," said expo attendee Song Yan from Shanghai's K-Pro International Co. Ltd. The company was granted the exclusive license to sell NBA products in China and is also the worldwide pin manufacturer for the South Africa 2010 World Cup. "We welcome clients who are interested in our products and would like to cooperate with us."

It is expected by some experts that this year's Cultural and Creative Industry Expo will help the economy recover more quickly from the global financial crisis.

The cultural and creative industry has become a new growth point around the world. According to UN statistics, the sector's growth now makes up 7 percent of global gross domestic product and is increasing by 10 percent annually.

In an opening speech, Chinese Minister of Culture Cai Wu said the cultural industry has become a strategic part of national economic development. He said during a previous press conference in September that China's culture industry has experienced robust development over the last 60 years, contributing greatly to the development of the national economy. He also said that China's culture industry has come into a renaissance.

"Since China's reform and opening up, the country has gradually shaped its culture market, including entertainment, performing arts, movies, the Internet and fine arts. Meanwhile, an open, ordered market system has been formed," said Cai.

In the past, most cultural organizations were state-run and funded by the government. They did not give much thought to whether their performances were good enough to attract audiences. But things have changed over the past 30 years as the government has restructured state-owned cultural enterprises to make them more market-oriented and economically efficient.

Cai said China's cultural industry in recent years has experienced rapid growth at a rate of more than 15 percent year on year. It has become a pillar of economic growth in some areas.

"The cultural and creative industry can serve as the growth point for Beijing to resist the financial crisis," said Zhao Hong, Director of the Economics Research Institute at Beijing's Academy of Social Sciences.

Other Chinese cities such as Shanghai developed their creative industry earlier than Beijing did. The capital's cultural segment was officially recognized in December 2005, when the municipal government implemented a policy of developing creative industries after it completed a thorough analysis of the social and economic development situation.

The creative industries have served as a new driver for economic growth, an engine of social progress and a new symbol of the city. Many experts who attended the forum agreed that the culture and creative industry is playing an increasingly important role in the city's growth.

According to Beijing Vice Mayor Cai Fuchao, there has been an increasing proportion of the cultural and creative industry as a part of the city's overall production value since Beijing made the decision to develop such industries in 2005. The added value of the industry totaled 96.5 billion yuan ($14.2 billion) for the first three quarters of the year, reaching a record high of 11.8 percent of the total local output value.

But experts also noted that transforming Beijing into a competitive creative city in the world requires that it deal with various problems such as investment policy, market access and technology innovation.

Experts, who held that the intellectual property legal system be perfected along with other legal systems governing investment and market operations, also urged on the favorable creative environment. n

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