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China: profile

Key facts

Government funding

Direct funding: National Yes
Direct funding: Regional No
Indirect funding: National No
Indirect funding: Regional No

Society/Industry/Market

Language Mandarin, Cantonese
Population 1,360 million
No. films produced per year 638 (2013)
Annual cinema admissions 612 million (2013)
Domestic share of box office 58.7%
No. TV households 387 million
Local content regulation on TV Yes
Legal system Civil Law
Currency CNY

China's market size and production industry

China is considered a partner country with potential for growth in co-production activity. It offers access to a market of considerable size which generates much of its appeal. In 2013, cinema admissions in China totalled 612 million with a market share of 58.7 per cent for national films (the highest level since 2008) and the number of cinema screens increased by almost 39 per cent in 2013, to 18,195. There are around 500 million TV sets in China and 387 million TV households.

In 2013, Chinese film productions totalled 638 – such high levels of output result in the development of a vast, highly skilled production base. China also boasts a large studio infrastructure, including Shanghai Film Studios, August First Film Studios and Hengdian World Studios, which are capable of supporting a large number of simultaneous productions. Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis, a mega studio in the Shandong province, is also under construction and may become the largest production facility in the world on completion in 2017. British Pinewood and local Seven Stars have also announced plans to establish a network of eight film schools around the country.

Co-production approvals

The automatic qualification of co-productions as local content, and therefore Chinese distribution, is significant considering that foreign feature releases are currently restricted to 34 films per year (plus 30-40 foreign films per year that can be released after distributors pay a flat fee for the rights), and there are also restrictions on the amount of foreign TV drama that can be broadcast.

Qualifying projects must receive provisional approval from the China Film Co-production Corporation, for official co-production status as well as the General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, for censorship certification. Final co-production and censorship approvals are also required prior to release.

China's international partners

The signing of the Australia/China treaty corresponds with an increase in support for co-productions from the Chinese Government, which has demonstrated a keenness for the Chinese film and TV industry to engage with international audiences and producer partners. In addition to Australia, China has signed official co-production treaties with several other countries including Canada, France, Singapore, India, Italy, New Zealand and most recently South Korea. Non-treaty co-production activity has also been increasing with many territories.

Please note this information is correct as at October 2014.