China has a unique advantage, compared to the rest of the world, when it comes to 3D filmmaking – it has both the political backing and the macro trends (demographic & economic) in its favor, making China the hottest 3D market today.
The Political Impetus
The Chinese government is committed to the development of culture as business and the film business industry (which includes theatrical, home and mobile) is at the heart of this envisioned cultural development. Within this, 3D has been identified as one of the core growth areas.
The Financial Impetus
The statistics are astounding: In 2011 the annual box office in China grossed over US$2.0 billion and 3D films had a 40% share of the total box office. In the first half of 2012, the growth rate was at 42% compared to 29% in 2011. Titanic 3D took more than US$ 147million in box-office in China alone and the list goes on. But it’s not just the cinemas with impressive numbers – China has recently licensed 617 new Internet companies, 7 IPTV operators, and 21 mobile TV operators.
The size of the middle class in China is increasing rapidly – by 2030 UN estimates that it would be four times larger than the US. This coupled with consumer´s access to numerous 3D-enabled devices mean that the demand for content is huge.
However, the Chinese audiences are becoming more discerning viewers, as 3D transcends it gimmicky style and become more story-driven, choosing to spend their entertainment budget on quality content.
The Current Focus
Recognizing that quality is key to success, the Chinese government has set up and supported many programs and initiatives that promote 3D filmmaking, develop 3D technology and equipment and train 3D arts and technology professionals.
The China 3D Technology & Creative Exposition is one such endeavor. We talked to CEO & Founder of 3D China Ltd. Bai Qiang about this event and his thoughts on the state of 3D in China.
Tell us a little bit about the China 3D Expo and what are your goals & expectations for this event?
China 3D Technology & Creative Exposition (China 3D Expo) is an annual exhibition activity with the highest level and the greatest influence in domestic 3D field so far. The 3D Expo was founded in 2010 and it has become the only government activity with 3D as the subject matter in China. Our company, 3D China Ltd, was one of the founding organizations. We also founded the 3D Experience Center in Chaoyang Museum of Urban Planning.
Our goals for the 2012 3D Expo are: First, to emphasize on the importance of the quality of 3D film/video; second, to bring in good quality 3D content from abroad; and third to discuss about the future of 3D TV in China.
As the Overseas Support Partner of this event, we aim to provide a platform where professionals from China and abroad communicate with each other as well as network. We hope that the Chinese 3D professionals can learn from their international counterparts and start working on improving the quality of local 3D content. We also hope that this expo could be helpful to the development of 3D TV in China.
What films will be screened?
We welcome all sorts of 3D content and would like to take the opportunity to invite submissions of quality 3D works. It does not have to be a full-length movie, it can also be a short film, a commercial ad or a movie trailer.
Tell us more about the event in 2011? Was it a success?
The event in 2011 was very successful. It attracted and received more than 5,000 guests both local and overseas, who visited and experienced the Expo.
Besides, through the successful operation of multiple channels such as official weibo (Chinese twitter), live videos, media reports and voluntary invitation, the Expo reached over 100,000 people. The highlight of the 2011 event was talking about two 3D animation movies, namely Kung Fu Panda 2 (from Hollywood) and Legend of A Rabbit (home-made).
How is local 3D content different from foreign titles?
The biggest difference is quality, which does not only mean the quality of 3D effects, but also the quality of the story-telling. The domestic attempts on 3D have not been well received by the public, who do not believe that we can make good quality 3D movies on our own. I should qualify that I believe not all stories are suitable for 3D. About two years ago, our company had the opportunity to produce a 3D Docu-concert film in China. From my point of view, movies that talk about arts and sports can really benefit from 3D technology.
It has been announced that there are at least ten new 3D TV channels to be launched. If this is the case, where will all the content come from? Local, Foreign, Live events?
Personally, I don’t know where the content would come from either. The government believes in promoting Chinese filmmakers, so my guess would be most of the content would be local. However, as I mentioned above, the quality of 3D content is very important and people are becoming aware of it. Our company, 3D China Ltd., has done a lot of work to bring in good 3D content from abroad. We hope it could be beneficial to both the audiences and the 3D professionals here in China.
There is still a long way for the Chinese 3D producers to go to catch up with the western filmmakers. There needs to be more interactions between 3D professionals at home and abroad and that is the reason why we are so dedicated in doing this 3D Expo – we intend to set up the platform and also organize training workshops to help the Chinese 3D producers reach the world-class technical level.
The China 3D Technology & Creative Exposition will take place fromDecember 18, 2012 to December 20, 2012 at the 3D Experience Center atChaoyang Museum of Urban Planning, Beijing, China.
Interview by Brinda Paul, 3D Content Hub. For more details on the Expo please check out their website at http://china3d-expo.com/
Source: all statistics and information given at the introduction (above) were taken from their website. To read more on this, please see http://china3d-expo.com/about/3d-in-china