BUSINESS UN report: China is the biggest single exporter and importer of creative goods and services


UN report: China is the biggest single exporter and importer of creative goods and services

By Yin Miao | People's Daily app

13:21, January 15, 2019


A creative industry park in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. (File photo: VCG)

New York (People’s Daily) - With export growth rates of over 7 percent over the last 13 years, global trade in creative goods is an expanding and resilient sector buoyed by China, according to a new report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Monday.

The creative industries – which include architecture, arts and crafts, marketing and advertising, media and publishing, research and development, software, computer games, and other core creative works – are the lifeblood of the creative economy.

The second edition of the periodic Creative Economy Outlook: Trends in International Trade in Creative Industries examines the global picture and also features 130 country profiles with reported creative goods and services trade data.  

The data, which covers the period from 2002 to 2015, shows the creative economy’s contribution to world trade. Over this period, the value of the global market for creative goods doubled from $208 billion in 2002 to $509 billion in 2015.

These figures are significant on two fronts, says Pamela Coke-Hamilton, who directs UNCTAD’s trade division.

“The creative economy has both commercial and cultural worth,” Coke-Hamilton said. “This dual value has led governments worldwide to focus on expanding and developing their creative economies as part of economic diversification strategies and efforts to stimulate prosperity and well-being.”

According to the report, China is the biggest single exporter and importer of creative goods and services. It is the main force behind the creative economy boom over the past decade and a half and owns a large portion of it. China’s trade in creative goods between 2002 and 2015 has been exponential, with an average annual growth rate of 14 percent.

In 2002, China’s trade in creative goods was $32 billion. By 2014 this figure had increased more than fivefold, tallying $191.4 billion.

There was a drop off in 2015, when China recorded a $168.5 billion trade in creative goods, but comparatively the country has maintained the lion’s share of the trade in creative goods. In 2015, Chinese exports were four times that of the United States.

The data also shows that Asia outstripped all other regions with China and South East Asia combined accounting for $228 billion of creative exports, almost double that of Europe.

China, Hong Kong (China), India, Singapore, Taiwan Province of China, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico and Philippines were the top 10 performing developing economies stimulating global trade in creative goods.

“Generally, South-South trade is on the rise and looks set to be an area of vibrant future growth especially for the creative economy,” said Marisa Henderson, the chief of UNCTAD's creative economy programme.

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