Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by Michael Keane
Chapter 3: The ten thousand things, the Chinese Dream and the creative cultural industries
How should we assess the success of China’s cultural and creative industries almost two decades after their inception? Noting the evidence provided in government reports, many observers are impressed by the growth in the Chinese marketplace. Cinema box-office takings are rising, real estate values have climbed in cultural quarters and zones, the value of the visual art market has skyrocketed, artefacts and ethnic handicrafts are sold in increasing numbers on Taobao, and China’s online media companies are scaling up their investment portfolios. Yet if we move beyond the data and talk to artists, media producers and investors there are indications of a larger story, one that is still unfolding. There is undoubtedly more growth to be had, particularly in international markets, but there is a great deal of disparity across sectors. Along with the great expectations attached to domestic expansion, the import and export of cultural goods and services has come centre stage. In recent years there have been impassioned calls for China’s ‘cultural soft power’ to be strengthened.
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