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Chinese Toon Fair Highlights Growing Industry

Speaking at the First Chinese International Animation, Cartoon and Game Fair, which opened yesterday in Shanghai, head of the animation department at Nanjing Normal University Wu Yue said that after decades of slumber, Chinese animators have begun developing new products, reports CHINA VIEW.

Since 2000, more than 100 university animation programs have formed and graduates have gone on to start their own businesses, mostly in the Yangtze River Delta.

"There are many small studios," Wu said. "They are clustered in East China."

The expansion is alluring to investors. South Korean companies wanting to expand into China are being supported by their government, which covered most of the costs for companies participating in the fair.

"We hope to develop the market here," said Sun Hee Lee, manager of planning at Intersave, a developer of online and mobile phone games. "The number of people coming here is evidence of the exploding market.

China Central Television (CCTV), the country's largest broadcaster, wants to take over a bigger piece of the market from the leading Korean and Japanese, said Wang Fang, a spokeswoman for China International Television Co., a division of CCTV focused on animated products. CCTV also wants to push animated-related merchandising and games as a source of revenue.

"Online games and animation... this kind of content can blend very well," said Yasuhiko Kinoshita, chairman of Micott & Basara Inc, a Tokyo-based animation developer.

The First China International Animation, Cartoon & Game Fair And Summit Meeting is being held at the Shanghai Exhibition Center from July 28 to Aug. 1. Vice-minister of culture Chang Keren and vice-mayor Yang Xiaodu attended the opening ceremony.

The fair will include guest animation artists from Japan and China, and major games and media companies such as CCTV, Shanda Interactive, Shanghai Film Group, SEGA&SAMMY and ADK. On display will be international prize-winning cartoons, trial versions of new arcade games, violence-free Internet games and mobile games. Young comic artists will be meeting face-to-face with established artists, and there are special forums for communication between industry professionals. These forums will focus on industry issues, including the campaign against piracy of intellectual property.

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