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On the horse of high expectations

By Xing Yi | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-12 09:34

On the horse of high expectations

Kiki and Kaka [Photo provided to China Daily]

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In China, about 82,000 minutes of animations were produced in 2001, a number that more than tripled to 261,000 in 2011, according to The History of Chinese Animation, a report by researchers at the Communication University of China.

In 2010 the country overtook Japan as the largest producer of animated films.

However, there is a sinister side to that increased output, many animation companies being set up simply to obtain government subsidies granted for animations that could be regarded as mediocre at best, industry insiders say.

In an interview in 2011, Lu said: "Without quality there can be no animation industry.… China cannot become a leading animation producer by producing quantity at the expense of quality."

In 2011 production figures began falling and last year 119,000 minutes of animated film were made in the country, the National Bureau of Statistics says.

"It was about that time that I realized the culture industry is unlike any other industry," He says. "It takes time and it takes talent."

He is the founder of the social networking app for animators, Cloud of Artists, on which they can display their profiles and portfolios to potential employers.

The app organized its first offline job fair in Beijing on July 15, attracting 50 animation companies and hundreds of job seekers.

"What is keeping China's animation industry back is a lack of professionals and those skilled in storytelling," He says. "We want to connect the right people with companies in need."

Like many others in this industry, he is optimistic, saying that over the coming decade "Chinese animation will take off again".

That optimism is backed by a growing thirst for original Chinese animations.

There were more than 45,000 movie screens in China by the end of June, surpassing that in the United States, and making China the country with the most movie screens. Last year, animated movies pulled in 7 billion yuan, about 15 percent of the country's total box office.

A growing sub-culture of animation, comic and games has spread among young Chinese, and the works they hanker after, including original Chinese animations, are among the highlights at expos around the country every year.

Earlier this year, a series of short animations titled "Chinese Choir" was well received on the video website Bilibili, the largest online group of young Chinese animation, comic and games fanatics.

Each video, telling the story of an ancient Chinese poem with traditional music, has received hundreds of thousands of clicks.

The enthusiastic comments from viewers, such as "The Chinese-style drawing is so cool", "This is true Chinese animation" and "We support original Chinese cartoons" suggest that the story of the country's animation industry will indeed have a happy ending.

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