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News from China
At the vanguard of digital entertainment
22nd June 2017

 GAO Xiaosong, a popular musician in China, said he would lend his voice to the 200 million users of as part of a partnership for a new online radio show.

“The music recording industry is fast disappearing as people turn online,” said Gao, who is also head of Alibaba’s digital entertainment business. “This new show will focus on voice again.”

No stranger to the Internet, Gao will be featured 156 times this year on Qingting, a Shanghai-based online radio platform. It is his first voice-only show online.

Online entertainment draws the majority of its income from video and games, but the industry is fast broadening its content to capture wider audiences. Firms like Baidu, Youku Tudou, iQiyi, Qingting and overseas media giants such as Discovery are at the vanguard of providing new formats.

The domestic entertainment industry is forecast to be valued at 1 trillion yuan (US$145 billion) by 2020, almost triple last year’s valuation, according to officials speaking at the ongoing Shanghai International Film and TV Festival.

New business formats include paid voice programs, personal talk shows and short videos. It’s all part of what is called “PAN entertainment” services. Its definition defies easy explanation. It comes from an acronym for “personal area network” and refers generally to diverse online entertainment through development of integrated content that may combine sports, travel, education and healthcare with media formats like games, animation, literature, film and television.

The government seems to welcome a “healthy and diversified” online culture after strengthening its regulation on entertainment media and personal blogs and after restricting content related to fantasy and so-called “emperor’s harem fight” dramas.

Qingting, with more than 200 million users, 9 million hours of online content and 15,000 licensed broadcasters, plans to invest heavily to establish a platform with qualified and diversified online audio services, including in-house productions like Gao’s show, said Zhang Qiang, Qingting’s chairman.

Children’s education, knowledge programs and talk shows covering hot social topics are popular among Qingting users, who seem willing to pay for high-quality content. Qingting aims to make money from both advertising and paid subscriptions, said Zhang.

In 2018, an estimated 292 million Chinese consumers will be paying for various online content, compared with 98 million in 2016, according to research firm iiMedia Data.

IQiyi has signed up with Netflix to introduce US dramas into China. It says its web drama format will become more diversified and put more emphasis on reality, moving away from the current focus on fantasy and fiction, said Wang Xiaohui, chief content officer of iQiyi.


During the Shanghai Film and TV Festival, Youku Tudou announced that more than 50 celebrities will participate in new online programs covering culture, finance, education, documentaries, science and charities.

The new content will feature celebrities like Ma Weidu, well-known art collector and founder of the Guanfu Museum, writer Wu Xiaobo and actress Wang Luodan. “People will want to watch,” said Yang Weidong, Youku Tudou’s president. “The shows are more interesting and accessible, thanks to our online video industry.”

For his part, Ma has promised to bring audiences a “carnival of knowledge” on his Youku Tudou show, including discussions about his own art collection, general Chinese culture and stories from his childhood.

Another “explosive” opportunity in China’s Internet landscape this year is the short video of 10 minutes or less. They are enhanced by improved network speeds, the mobile Internet, adequate investment and abundant content, companies involved in the sector said.

Indeed, investment in the short video industry is expected to top 10 billion yuan in 2018, up from 5.37 billion yuan last year, analysts said.

Baidu, the country’s biggest online search service provider, has set up a 500 million yuan fund for short videos, seeing the segment as a potential gold mine, said Hu Jie, general manager of Baidu Video.

Also this month, Discovery launched its new video platform Tanba with VS Media, a HK-based media platform with more than 120 million subscribers globally. It also provides customized short video content for the Chinese market.

The new formats are attuned to mobile users clocking in on the way to work or during lunch breaks, as well as audiences in the traditional TV evening segment. They offer “affordable lifestyle” content on cooking, travelling, make-up and other topics, said VS Media.

Discovery cares more about data than limited license fees. Data are valuable to media and advertisers for analyzing and management, said Arthur Bastings, president and managing director of Discovery Networks Asia Pacific.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 22, 2017
Domestic investors remaining cautious
21st June 2017

 CHINESE investors are expected to remain conservative this year as most of their investments are allocated to traditionally defensive asset classes, according to an investment survey released yesterday.

The survey, conducted by Legg Mason, a US-based asset management firm, said more than 68 percent of investments are allocated to traditionally defensive asset classes — cash (23.8 percent), fixed income (27.5 percent), investment real estate (10.7 percent) and gold or precious metals (6.4 percent).
Most investors are bullish on domestic assets and support the country’s measures to strengthen China’s economy.
“A significant portion of Chinese investors are bullish on domestic assets. Besides local business investment, Chinese investors also believe domestic stocks offer the best opportunities over the next 12 months,” said Freeman Tsang, director of business development of Legg Mason Global Asset Management.
Up to 44 percent of Chinese investors endorse ongoing reforms, 42 percent agree with efforts to support strong international trade, and 38 percent support continued infrastructure spending.
“Chinese investors are more interested in domestic investment than other investors. Around 88 percent of Chinese investors hold investments in their own country, compared with 80 percent of Asian investors and 76 percent of global investors,” Tsang said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 21, 2017
Reforms for industrial workforce
20th June 2017

 CHINA will introduce reforms to strengthen its industrial workforce as part of a national strategy to become a manufacturing powerhouse.

A reform program, released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council yesterday, characterizes industrial workers as a pillar for creating social wealth and innovation, as well as building China into a world manufacturing power.
Reforms are needed to relax restrictions curbing the healthy development of the industrial workforce and to boost worker enthusiasm and innovation.
The program puts forward 25 reforms, including measures to sharpen worker skill and using the Internet to strengthen the industrial workforce.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 20,2017
Digital: new model for film profits
19th June 2017

 NALYSTS and major players are generally optimistic about the impact digital platforms and technologies can bring to the film industry, with more efficient marketing and an easier reach for potential audience, the Chinese Film Industry Summit Forum heard yesterday.

Yu Yongfu, chairman of Alibaba Pictures, said his company hoped to provide digital infrastructure services for film distribution, marketing and development of film or TV series derivatives.
Michael Shamberg, American TV and film producer whose credits include “Pulp Fiction” and “Django Unchained,” said: “China is way ahead of the US in terms of audience reach (through digital channels) and online streaming to audience.”
Some US production houses and Internet companies are also applying tech mentality to the film business and have in some ways helped reduce the cost of production and marketing.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 19,2017

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