Prospects bright for China’s sci-fi industry
International audiences are being targeted as training is strengthened for domestic authors and creators
be stable. Because of the popularity of sci-fi reading and high expectations for the nascent Chinese sci-fi film market, science fiction copyrights have risen sharply in recent years. However, such business has cooled down since last year, since it is difficult to make some works into films or television programs, and there is a shortage of funding.
In 2016, the total box-office of sci-fi films in China was 7.64 billion yuan, an increase of 13 percent over the previous year. Of this amount, domestic sci-fi movies accounted for 3.5 billion yuan.
Imported science fiction films continued to dominate Chinese cinema screens, but domestic films began to show a strong performance, with some Chinese original sci-fi films achieving success at the box office. Chinese micro sci-fi films, such as began to win people’s attention and trigger hot discussion and philosophical reflection. Some original fantasy films, the subject of huge investment, began to combine with scifi films to form a new genre — science fiction-fantasy.
A total of 235 online drama series were launched in 2016, with views reaching 500 billion, and users’ online payments rose to 11.7 billion yuan. Online sci-fi dramas, especially those with big budgets and investment, were highly welcomed by new media platforms and websites. However, even though the number of new sci-fi dramas was huge, the quality of some was not excellent.
There were no statistics available on video games in China, but global sales of video games stood at more than $444 million (377 million euros; £332 million) in 2016.
Startup enterprises related to sci-fi production also developed well. Newly started businesses were trying to find their places through competition and cooperation. For example, many enterprises were trying to recruit and attract more science fiction creators and authors through soliciting articles or hosting awards ceremonies. Famous events such as the Galaxy Award and the Xingyun Award have showed strong brand effect and received much attention in the sector.
In addition, some domestic publications and organizations are dedicated to introducing excellent Chinese sci-fi to international readers, promoting international exchanges and training creators. For example, Science Fiction World and China Educational Publications Import and Export Corp have cooperated to promote Chinese sci-fi author Liu Cixin’s trilogy to the world. The trilogy has been published in 13 languages, with total global sales of 800,000 copies. More Chinese works are being prepared for international readers.
Future Affairs Administration, a technological and cultural company, produces original content with a futuristic vision for Chinese science fiction. Its core business is development of science fiction writing, and it has begun cooperating with the University of Kansas in the United States to promote communication and exchanges between Chinese and US sci-fi writers.
Although China’s science fiction industry has just started, the prospects for further growth are bright as training is strengthened for domestic authors and creators. The country, businesses and readers are all optimistic about the genre of literature and eager to see more impressive stories.