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Catch You on the Flip Side

Creators and studios pivot to Southeast Asia as China jumps the shark.

Prior to the pandemic, foreign producers and studios operating in China faced increasing restrictions on content creation, distribution and monetization — something I began to notice towards the end of my run as VP of China Local Content Production for Disney in Beijing.

Amid the pandemic, business as usual (and even business as unusual) for foreign operators became nigh impossible. I discussed the ramifications of this with writer/producer Caryn McCann on her China-Hollywood Greenlight podcast - which was subsequently rebranded as the Asia-Hollywood Greenlight podcast.

Caryn’s first guest on her rebranded podcast (the 47th episode overall) is international indie producer and former Beijing resident, Chris Chen. Chris’ insights into the cultural, sociopolitical, and economic reasons for China circling its wagons go beyond the headlines - digging into the histories of China and of filmmaking.

Chris sees the new co-production era as less of a retreat from China than a pivot to Southeast Asia. His most pointed observation is that anyone who is still pondering, “How can I do business with China?” is asking an obsolete question.

China has jumped the shark.

Kevin Geiger's picture

Kevin is the author of AWN's Reality Bites blog, his musings on the art, technology and business of immersive media (AR, VR, MR) and AI. You can find Kevin's website at and he can be reached at