Shanghai aims to support animation

27 July 2012 16 h 06 min Comments Off

In order to boost its animation  game and comic industry, Shanghai government is taking measures such as providing finance to mobile cartoon and game firms and establishing a new comic book center, industry officials said Monday at the Chinese International Cartoon and Games Exposition / CCG Expo 2012 in Shanghai.

“Animation has become a major growth engine of related industries, including game, TV, film, fashion design and publishing sectors,” Liu Yuzhu, a senior official of China’s Ministry of Culture said at a press conference of the CCG.

230% growth in 2011

Shanghai’s animation and online gaming industries grew rapidly last year, officials announced.










The output of the local animation sector skyrocketed 230 percent from the previous year to 71 hours and 43 minutes in 2011 as more local companies began producing their own material, officials said. In Y 2011, Shanghai’s animation industry output was 6.3-B Yuan, up 23.7% Y-Y.

According to the Shanghai Animation Industry Annual Report 2011, there are 38 television animation production companies citywide, which, last year, produced 26 shows, totaling 4,303 minutes of screen time. This figure is roughly four times that of production in Shanghai in 2010. Last year, an updated, 3-D version of the classic “The Monkey King: Uproar in Heaven” which was originally created in the 1960s by Shanghai Animation Film Studio (SAFS), took in almost 50 million yuan ($7.84 million) at the box office. Other homegrown productions found success abroad including “Animen” produced by Shanghai Hippo Animation (Hippo) which raked in more than US$100,000 in Russia.

“We expect them to account for 30 percent of the total value of animation produced in the city by 2015,” said Bei Zhaojian, spokesman for the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film and Television.

The city’s online game industry is also taking off. The value of its annual output in 2011 grew by 24 percent from the previous year to 14.9 billion yuan ($2.37 billion).

Shanghai’s city government will invest about 10-M Yuan annually to support local animation industry. Shanghai People’s Fine Art Publishing House also plans to establish a Comic Book Center which will publish “several hundred” comic products this year, Tang Baoshun, its vice president, told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

Each Shanghai-based mobile animation and game firm with annual revenue of more than 500,000 Yuan will be able to apply for the city’s finance incentives.

New financial support

Shanghai government plans to loosen restrictions on subsidies for smaller animation and video game companies in order to prop up the struggling segment of the industry, an official from the local culture and media authority announced on Thursday 12 July at an industry conference.

Smaller animation and video game companies have been struggling in recent years due to their lack of access to credit and other financing. The local government hopes that helping more companies qualify for subsidies will give the industries a boost.

“We decided to lower the threshold for the subsidy so that more small companies can benefit from the policy,” said Bei Zhaojian, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Administration for Culture, Radio, Film and Television.

Bei announced a series of new measures at the , including increasing the maximum subsidy for locally produced animation from 600 yuan ($94.12) to 800 yuan per episode, though he didn’t reveal when the measures would take effect. A smaller help compared to the cost of production. A single animated episode costs from 80,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan to produce, according to an industry insider.

“The city is already spending about 10 million yuan a year on subsidies for the animation and game industries”, said Cheng Xiqing, the agency’s press officer.

However, because one way to hand out the subsidy is to cover part of the interest payment, many smaller firms may be left out, even with the lower threshold.

Local animation studios in particular lack access to financing, according to a report that the agency released Thursday. The Shanghai Animation Industry Annual Report 2011 found that 90 percent of the roughly 300 animation studios that are privately owned with fewer than 400 employees have trouble qualifying for loans.

“Since we opened in 2007, we have never been able to obtain a bank loan,” said Yan Hua, the general manager of a local animation design company.

Yan appreciates the subsidy, but said it was not enough.

Sources: Global Times (6 & 12/07/12) (27/07/12)

Picture: “Black Cat Detective” created by Shanghai Animation Film Studio

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