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China’s performing arts sector opens out

New policies facilitate collaborative and international working

Last week we had the pleasure of speaking at the National Cultural Industry Innovation Pilot Zone in Beijing’s 2016 Summit (Chinese), joining representatives from Tencent, Phoenix New Media, Wanda and LeTV.

We were invited by the Communications University of China to speak about our work with the UK’s Department for International Trade (formerly UKTI) on the crucial opportunities for international collaboration (English) open to the UK and China’s Museum and Theatre sectors.

The Summit coincided with the announcement by the National Cultural Industry Innovation Pilot Zone (English) of its 15 Strand Policy (Chinese), designed to support the role of the cultural and creative industries in strengthening Beijing’s role as China’s national cultural centre and in supporting Chinese culture ‘going out’ (English). For non-Chinese companies looking at China’s performing arts market, two policy strands stand out:

  • Foreign investors will be permitted to establishwholly foreign-owned ‘performance agencies’ - businesses that produce or licence performances – within the Pilot Zone. These companies will be permitted to operate in Beijing.​
  • Chinese cultural and creative enterprises that successfully merge with or acquire overseas companies in an M&A deal exceeding 50 million USD will be awarded an additional 1 million CNY. 500,000 CNY will be granted to M&A deals worth between 10 – 50 million USD.

These are important as they echo in the performing arts China’s wider, ongoing drive to internationalise and increase the capacity of its culture and creative sector, through partnership with or acquisition of overseas companies. This does however come with a higher level of access to China’s performing arts market for overseas companies.

- Conor Roche, Associate Director