Hello from China….this time in Fuzhou. This is quite a city and province. It’s located on China’s Southeast coast and rests at a junction of the Yangzte River Delta and Pearl River Delta..both are dynamic economic circles. Across the Taiwan Straits lies its closest neighbor, Taiwan and nearby neighbors include Hong Kong and Macao. Temperatures are moderate and the infrastructure is excellent. There’s building going on all over the city.
The history of this region dates back 2,200 years and they’ve done a good job to preserve the heritage. There’s an area of the city called Three-Lanes-Seven-Alleys which is a region in the old part of the city that has been incredibly preserved and turned into a retail district sans automobiles. The community has a thriving ship building business which is supported by its strategic location.
I’m here to attend the 8th World Summit for Multi-media and Internet and the 1st. China International Conference for Creative Economy Cooperation. The program is being held over the course of four days. There were a couple of dozen topics discussed including Global Digital Creative Industries with a focus on Brazil and India, Intellectual Property Protection, and International Trends on Creative Industries.
One thing that struck me during the conference is the ‘looseness’ in which some of the key presenters use facts and figures. Some of their figures are indeed NOT facts. Depending on who you listened to, there are either 1.6 billion mobile phone users or 2.5 billion users. A third of the world uses the internet (2 billion) but someone else said the number was also a third, but a third was closer to 3 billion. I don’t really know (nor do I really care) but the one thing that is consistent is that the numbers for users of mobile devices and the internet is staggering and getting larger daily. With all of that technology and all of those users, there’s still 1/5 of the world that lives without electricity.
I was asked to attend the event and present a paper on my influence on the growth of animation in India. The Fujian government is planning to expand their animation industries and they are very aware of the competition that faces them, not only from India, but from within their own country.
For the past twelve years, animation in India has been growing in leaps and bounds. They’ve grown from a score of small studios doing primarily ad films and special effects to an animation industry that is supported by hundreds of studios, thousands of artists and billions in revenue. State governments are now beginning to see the wisdom (and financial rewards) of being in the animation business and a handful of state governments now provide subsidies and preferential tax treatments to local animation studios and academies. How accomplished is animation in India? A large chunk of the animation in Life of Pi was done by Rhythm & Hues India. And, if you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to do so. It’s incredible film making.
China wants to be in this spot. There’s a strong competition between a handful of provinces to become the animation leader in the country. And, they’re spending a lot of money to make it happen. Not that far away from Fuzhou is Xiamen which already has a huge animation presence.
Fuzhou is in many ways, beginning anew. They have a handful of small animation operations and an art school. But, they’re determined to turn Fujian province into the newest animation hub in China.
I’ll be blogging next from ASIFA India’s International Animation Day.