China, UK sign $52.7 million deals in creative industry at CIIE in Shanghai
Rona Fairhead (center), British minister for Trade and Export Promotion, attends a signing ceremony at CIIE in Shanghai on Wednesday. (Photo: Courtesy of the British Consulate-General in Shanghai)
China's determination to further open up is creating more opportunities for foreign creative industry firms to explore the nation's huge market and seek cooperation with their Chinese peers.
During the first-ever China International Import Expo (CIIE), being held in Shanghai from Monday to Saturday, British creative companies signed eight deals with Chinese enterprises worth more than 40 million pounds ($52.7 million). The deals involve areas including TV, film, advertising and gaming.
"This is fantastic news which will bring growth to the creative sectors in the UK and China," Rona Fairhead, British minister for Trade and Export Promotion, said at a signing ceremony for the eight deals on Wednesday.
The film industry is an important and well-developed part of the creative field in the 66 million-population UK. Whereas China, the most populated country in the world and the world's second largest movie market with revenue reaching 55.9 billion yuan ($8.05 billion) in 2017, has yet to produce many global hits.
"We have a very rich capability [in the film industry]," Fairhead told the Global Times, citing globally popular British works such as Harry Potter and Game of Thrones.
"To my mind, as China goes further into film, it's about [the UK film industry] taking the best of its world-class capabilities to cooperate with Chinese companies and make sure that you benefit from the innovation that we have."
Fairhead pointed to immersive technology as an example of innovation in the film industry.
"It's not just a presentation on screen, but a real immersive experience," she said. "That's the next stage."
At Wednesday's signing ceremony, British production company Immersive and Chinese film technology firm Mirror Pictures signed a memorandum of understanding on the joint development of an immersive theater program.
"Having discussed the program with filmmakers from all over the world, I eventually chose to work with Immersive," Mirror Pictures President Jiang Chuanrong told the Global Times.
"It has a very professional visual arts and technology team who once contributed to the opening ceremony performance at the London Olympics."
According to the agreement, Immersive will send its employees to China to work together with Mirror Pictures on the program.
"We plan to release our first work in 2019, and then gradually go global," Jiang said.
Another two big parts of the creativity industry, sports and gaming, are becoming increasingly interrelated nowadays.
The UK-based game developer Tower Studios, China's sports game company Crazy Sports and Chinese mobile game company Migu Interactive Entertainment agreed on a deal to produce, license and distribute popular mobile games in China.
"We and Crazy Sports will bring Tower Studios' soccer-themed mobile game Sociable Soccer into the Chinese mainland market," Fang Zhongjun, vice president of Migu Interactive Entertainment, told the Global Times.
"We provide internet broadcast services of top soccer matches for Chinese audiences, and now we are looking forward to offering domestic fans a good soccer mobile game."
After attending the signing ceremony, Fairhead spoke highly of China's first-ever national import expo.
"We see the CIIE as a really momentous event," she said.
"By opening-up and improving our trading, we create more jobs for the two countries, and we share innovation particularly in the creativity industry."