Homegrown animation and comics industry expected to grow as it becomes a new trend for Chinese fans.
In 2018, the Bilibili World expo in Shanghai, organised by China's Bilibili anime streaming platform, attracted 170,000 visitors, 70,000 more than last year when it was held for the first time.
China's animation and comics market -- known as 'dongman' (pronounced tong-maan) a portmanteau of the Chinese words for animation and comics -- is growing fast with expectations to hit a value of 216 billion yuan ($33.22 billion) by 2020, according to the EntGroup consultancy, from 150 billion yuan ($22 billion) last year.
It is being driven by young Chinese audience, born between 1990 and 2009, who make up 60 percent of the customers in the domestic industry and are consuming comics and animations in vast amounts online.
However, China still lags behind the Japanese and American markets in terms of production and sales, and Chinese technology and internet giants like NetEase, Tencent Holdings and Baidu are splashing out on comic artists and production firms to play catch up.
Experts say these comic firms are rightly-so playing the long game, as they look to reap the monetary benefits of the emerging 'dongman' sub-culture being galvanised by China's young generation that are wealthier than their parents were, and have no qualms about spending money on their favourite cartoons.
Cover photo: Cosplayers showed off their costumes and weapons on stage, fans danced with animation music while models in costumes posed to promote various comics and animations.