ZONE ACCELERATES PUSH FOR INTEGRATED GROWTH
Cultural, creative industry strives to embrace new technology such as VR and AI
The Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone — positioned at the forefront of China’s science innovation sector — is sparing no effort in advancing the integrated development of its culture and technology sectors, to provide a solid foundation for future growth, according to officials.
The zone’s administrators believe the benefits flowing from the culture and technology sectors complement each other. Zhangjiang’s cultural and creative industry comprises companies involved in software and computing services, the media, advertising, consulting, exhibitions and architecture, among other things.
Officials say Zhangjiang’s cultural industry will help technology businesses to strengthen their competitiveness and better understand what is really needed to succeed, while its technology sector will change the value chain and supplydemand relationship in the cultural industry.
The cultural and creative industry in Zhangjiang has reported rapid growth since 2016. The Zhangjiang demonstration zone was one of the first 16 national culture and technology integration demonstration centers in China approved by central authorities in 2012.
Statistics from the demonstration zone show the cultural and creative industry in Zhangjiang reported 455.56 billion yuan ($65.59 billion) in revenue last year, up 10.23 percent yearon-year from 2016. That accounted for 9.7 percent of the total revenue generated in the Zhangjiang demonstration zone.
The numbers showed that more than 407,000 people were working in its cultural and creative industry by the end of 2017.
In recent years, the software and computer service sector, which forms the core competitiveness of Zhangjiang, is playing a more important role in supporting the development of the area’s cultural and creative industry.
Last year, an estimated 40.35 percent of the revenue generated by the culture and creativity industry in Zhangjiang came from software and computer service developers.
In addition, the architectural design, advertising and exhibitions, industrial design and online information businesses were key commercial drivers in Zhangjiang. The four sectors, along with the software and computer service sector, contributed 77.58 percent of the total revenue of the cultural and creative industry in Zhangjiang, according to the zone.
Meanwhile, research has found that the consulting, leisure and entertainment, and art sectors are contributing a lower proportion to total revenue in recent years, suggesting that Zhangjiang has capitalized on the advantages it enjoys in the area of science to develop its cultural and creative industry, zone officials said.
Last year, they said that 8.8 percent of overall income reported by businesses in the demonstration zone came from the cultural and creative industry.
In recent years, cultural and creative businesses in Zhangjiang have strived to embrace new technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence and have expanded into new areas. For example, investment and gaming company Shanda Group invested in Iceland’s Solfar Studios to develop a VR app in 2015.
Over the past few years, a great number of so-called unicorn companies — startups with a value of more than $1 billion — have grown up in Zhangjiang. Examples include Ximalaya FM, an online audio content platform, Bilibili, an animecentered video streaming platform widely accessed by teenagers and Hujiang EdTech, an online education service provider.
In August, Bilibili announced its total net revenue in the second quarter reached 1.03 billion yuan, powered by an increasing number of online video viewers.
Hujiang is among education startups in China that plan to raise funds from the capital market, to bankroll its expansion.
Looking ahead, the zone in the upcoming years is expected to further promote the building of industrial chains and attract more resources.
Supporting branded businesses and the development of more industrial parks are also seen as possible ways to boost the overall development of industry.
Officials said companies were also being encouraged to boost their communications and utilize new technologies to strengthen their development.
Cartoon hero Spiderman is displayed at an animation museum in Shanghai’s Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone.
Left: The Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone has made a great success in promoting integrated development of its cultural and creative industry. Right: Ximalaya FM, located in the Zhangjiang demonstration zone, has become a leading online audio content platform in China.