Signs sug­gest force of Chi­nese con­sumers is now awak­en­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

In spite of the dark­en­ing global growth prospects and the un­ex­pected plunge in the do­mes­tic stock mar­ket on the first trad­ing day of this year, Chi­nese con­sumers will no doubt demon­strate their grow­ing im­por­tance to the global movie in­dus­try when StarWars: The Force Awak­ens opens in this coun­try on Jan 9.

This lat­est in­stall­ment of the block­buster se­ries has al­ready earned more than $1.5 bil­lion world­wide so far, and there are an­tic­i­pa­tions that Chi­nese movie­go­ers will give the film a shot in the arm big enough to al­low this space opera se­quel to fi­nally shoot past the record $2.8 bil­lion box of­fice re­turns of Avatar.

The film­maker has ex­pressed wor­ries that, with the movie-go­ing de­mo­graphic in China be­com­ing in­creas­ingly younger, the sev­enth film in the “StarWars” se­ries might not at­tract an ad­e­quately large num­ber of Chi­nese view­ers. That is a fair con­cern given the con­sid­er­able cul­tural dif­fer­ences and pref­er­ences be­tween Chi­nese andWestern cin­ema­go­ers.

But the lat­est sta­tis­tics of China’s box of­fice are more than re­as­sur­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Press, Pub­li­ca­tion, Ra­dio, Film and Tele­vi­sion, films screened in China raked in more than 44 bil­lion yuan ($6.78 bil­lion) in 2015, jump­ing by 48.7 per­cent over the pre­vi­ous year when the coun­try’s box of­fice soared by one third to about 30 bil­lion yuan. It is es­ti­mated that the Chi­nese box of­fice may sur­pass $10 bil­lion an­nu­ally in a fewyears.

The high­est growth of box of­fice since 2011 will cer­tainly nei­ther guar­an­tee that the pace of growth will con­tinue or ac­cel­er­ate in com­ing years, nor make the huge suc­cess of The Force Awak­ens a sure bet.

Nev­er­the­less, it is an­other sign that Chi­nese con­sumers are ris­ing to as­sert their in­creas­ing in­flu­ence at home and abroad as a key driv­ing force for growth.

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