Friday, October 24, 2014

Slowdown in China

You wouldn't know it from stateside animation production, but in some other countries the cartoon biz is not as robust.

Animation industry, once basking in high-flying adulation and rapid development, encounters difficulties of "hard landing" at present. Animation industry in the pioneer cities (including Changsha, Hangzhou, Wuxi, Shenyang, etc.) is showing an obvious free falling trend after several years of rapid expansion. Except a few bases, most of the current 24 national animation industry bases have suffered a decline in both production quantity and market share.

As for specific animation companies, there were 656 animation companies obtaining domestic TV animation distribution licenses at the end of 2013, 100 of which had no output for five consecutive years (accounting for 15.2 percent) and 439 had no output this year (accounting for 66.9 percent). Many professional animation producers believe that the deteriorative trend of ecological environment facing the once flourishing animation industry slows down the industrial expansion. ...

Many companies regard government support as the sole profit mode. In order to gain awards from government, many companies produced crappy works while putting strenuous efforts to public relations during broadcasting links instead of investing in quality improvement, thus failing to make a long-term development plan for both works and companies. ...

In 2013, China's animation industry enjoyed a total output value of RMB 87 billion yuan, possessed more than 4,600 enterprises and employed nearly 220,000 people. However, original animation share and added value from animation derivatives (excluding original equipment manufacture) are pitiful.

Zhang Xuan, a teacher from Animation and Multimedia Division of Shenyang Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, believes that currently China's animation industry is confronted with a situation of "highlighting original equipment manufacture while neglecting originality". "Script shortage" leads to scarcity of originality in both themes and artistic images. Due to lack of excellent original works, China's animation market is awash with foreign works...

Some years back, American animation artists reported that China was not robust in the creation of original work. Okay with sub-contracting, but that was pretty much it.

More recently, DreamWorks Animation has been incubating Chinese features at production sites in China. But story development isn't done in the Middle Kingdom. Boards and scripts are created in Glendale, where DWA has staff who can successfully launch a feature.


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