Ten Highlights of Hangzhou Animation and Game Industry Development During the 13th Five-Year Plan Period
The 13th Five-Year Plan period marks the epoch-making five years in the developmental history of culture industry in Hangzhou which is striding forward to build up “City of Animation and Cartoon”.
Over the last years, Hangzhou animation and game industry has been sparkling with its outstanding achievements, adding a splendid mark on this long scroll of times.
Highlight One: The “City of Animation and Cartoon” Stands in Solidarity, Helps Defense against the COVID-19 Outbreak, and Shows Its Universal Fraternity and Warmth to All
During the first half of 2020, animation and game enterprises in Hangzhou supported the epidemic prevention and control by making donations, making global purchase, contributing copyrights, giving out free courses and so forth.
Some animation enterprises in Hangzhou and well-known animation experts who have settled in the city have spontaneously created a series of animated works and microfilms on the theme of epidemic prevention, making these creations important carriers to popularize the knowledge of epidemic prevention and promote Chinese experience in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. These creations have carried forward the dissemination of their positive spirits from Hangzhou to the whole country and even over the globe to give comfort and strengthen people’s confidence. A batch of animated works about epidemic prevention produced in Hangzhou like Fight Against COVID-19 Epidemic With Tubo Rabbit have been translated into multiple languages and distributed overseas, and Building Life Defense, a popular science cartoon, has been recorded and promoted by UNESCO.
During the outbreak, Hangzhou Animation and Game Industry Development Center went deep into enterprises to carry out activities of “Three Services to Visit and Establish Close Relations with Enterprises and Grass-root Units” and started early the annual subsidy application for animation and game industry, so as to support overall resumption of ACG enterprises and convert crisis into opportunitie.
Highlight Two: China International Cartoon & Animation Festival Released Its Brilliant New Contents with Innovative Exhibition and Service Pattern
In the course of the 13th Five Year Plan, China International Cartoon & Animation Festival (CICAF) has constantly improved its capabilities in professionalization, internationalization, industrialization, branding development and intellectualization.
From the 12th to the 15th CICAF, this brand activity has accumulatively attracted 10,404 enterprises and institutions from 86 countries and regions and 5.6455 million participants with a total amount of on-site signed and intended transaction reaching up to RMB 63.316 billion.
In 2020, Hangzhou has innovatively adopted a hybrid pattern combining online and offline approaches to make it possible for participants “to gather online in spring and to meet offline in autumn”, to further create a never-ending ACG festival. From April 30 to May 5, the first “Online ACG Industry Trade Fair” in the country was successfully held in virtue of digital empowerment. From September 29 to October 4, the 16th CICAF, with China Media Group being one of its organizers for the first time, adopted digital methods for epidemic prevention to unfold its charms of “Chinese animation, Chinese styles, Chinese fashion and Chinese creations”, attracting participation of 2,680 domestic and foreign enterprises and institutions from 65 countries and regions, 5,886 customers, exhibitors and professionals, 739,200 participants of offline activities, and 10.12 million participants of “Online Chinese Animation” platform for further interaction. Such great achievements set up a new example for large-scale cultural festivals and exhibitions under normalized epidemic prevention and control and received instructions and encouragement from main leaders of both provincial and municipal party committees.
Highlight Three: Financially Support Better and Stronger Development of Animation and Game Industry and Release Pioneering Industrial Policies in the Country
In the opening year of the 13th Five-Year Plan, Hangzhou grasped the trend of deep integration of cultural and financial industries and invested RMB 18 million as special subsidy to bring about loans and credits of RMB 560 million from ACG enterprises in three years, effectively helping to relieve the financing problems faced by the ACG enterprises.
In 2017, to strengthen its policies, Hangzhou released Implementation Opinions on Promoting Better and Stronger Development of Hangzhou Animation and Game Industry and Action Plans for Constantly Promoting Construction of “City of Animation and Cartoon” in Hangzhou (2018-2020) which were included in the fifth round of supportive policies issued for developing animation and game industry in Hangzhou since 2005. This new round of policies pay more attention to better and stronger industrial development, and encourage the industry to create top-quality works, explore overseas market, carry out capital operation and enhance public services. Since the official implementation of the policies in 2018, Hangzhou animation and game industry has accelerated its industrial transformation, realized leap-frog development and gained effective momentum to create “City of Animation and Cartoon 2.0”, wining itself recognition from all sectors of the society.
In 2018, Hangzhou rolled out a big “Eyas Plan” for its ACG enterprises to provide “waiter-like” full services for promising medium and small sized enterprise and key projects, put more efforts on support, guidance, incubation and cultivation, so as to further stimulate the development of animation and game industry in Hangzhou.
Highlight Four: Animation and Game Industry Realized Significant Increase in Annual Output via Industrial Transformation, Upgrading, Integration and Innovation
Amid the 13th Five-Year Plan, Hangzhou animation and game industry continued to quicken its transformation, upgrading, integration and innovation, realizing a brilliant advancement in its developmental quality and comprehensive strength. In 2019, its output reached up to RMB 19.82 billion, more than two-fold increase from 2015; besides, the amount of tax paid went up to nearly RMB 710 million, representing an increase of 19% from 2015. In spite of negative impact of the outbreak, culture industry in Hangzhou still has an upward trend against the pandemic in 2020. In the first half of the year, culture industry of the whole city has realized value added of RMB 109.2 billion, a YoY increase of 7.3%, accounting for 14.8% of the regional GDP, which is greatly attributed to the development of animation and game industry.
In 2016, Electronic Soul became the first listed game company on A-share main board via independent IPO in the country. To date, Hangzhou has formed up a cluster of listed ACG enterprises including 3 listed on the main board, 1 listed on GEM, 1 on NASDAQ and others listed on NEEQ. In recent years, Hangzhou animation and game industry has constantly deepened its cross-form, cross-media and cross-industrial integration and development, which nurtures various emerging business models.
Zoland Animation takes its initiative to lay out 5G cloud animation and create a digital, cultural and creative valley with an integration of whole industrial chain of digital animation; AU Culture has independently developed a digital content platform for children, becoming the first animation enterprise winner of National Science and Technology Progress Award in China; Sparkly Key Animation Studio applies AI technology to animation production, leading the reform and innovation of animation technology; Versatile Media develops and creates virtual idols, including Madam Zaza, the first super realistic virtual idol in China; Steam Works has its eyes on the exploration and creation of multiaxial track application; and Huace Film & TV, “the biggest film and television producer in China”, has also gotten involved in the field of animation. In 2019, four animation enterprises were selected into the List of Leading Enterprises of Culture and Tourism in Hangzhou of the year. Moreover, Hangzhou follows the trend and works together with Taobao (China) to develop a cooperative platform of Chinese comic IPs and cultivate the largest consumer market of ACG derivatives; by relying on China Internet Writers Village, Hangzhou gives impetus to the integration and development of internet literature, animation and game; and it carries out Hangzhou E-sports Summit and constructs “Online Games Town”, “E-sports Town” and “Mobile Games Base” to explore a better layout for e-sports industry so that animation and game industry can be always at the forefront of the development.
Highlight Five: Animation Industrial New Ecology of “Competition-driven Production” is Taking Shape under Leadership of Authoritative “Golden Monkey Award” Competition
Relying on the important platform of CICAF, “Golden Monkey King Awards” competition, China COSPLAY Super Show, voice actor competition, “Tianyan Cup” China (Hangzhou) International Children’s Cartoon Contest (ICCC), China “New Star Cup” of Narrative Original Comic Competition, “I’m the King of Animation” and other professional animation competitions are expanding their brand influence, becoming important carriers to cultivate new force of animation industry and spur animation industrial development.
“Golden Monkey Award” Competition, the “greatest honor of Chinese animation”, which has been successfully held for 11 times from 2006 to 2017, made a blockbuster return in 2020, and the participation of China Media Group as the host made the competition much more authoritative. In this “Golden Monkey Award” Competition, comprehensive award went to 13 animation works, and 18 candidates snatched up the potential award out of 819 candidates from 19 countries and regions. Besides, Creative Venture Investment Meeting was also introduced for providing a platform for shortlisted outstanding and original animated works to go from competition into industry, and multiple cooperative intentions were preliminarily achieved.
China COSPLAY Super Show sets up sub-contest areas in 25 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) in China and 9 foreign countries. Voice actor competition follows current trends to constantly carry out reform and innovation on its rules, and the first attempt was made to provide occupational guidance for excellent contestants in 2020. “Tianyan Cup” China (Hangzhou) International Children’s Cartoon Contest (ICCC) attracts contestants from more than 40 countries and regions across the world, and promotes excellent works worldwide through organizing international exhibition tour. In 2020, the first National College Students Game Creation Competition was held to provide a platform for seeking excellent talents of game R&D in universities and colleges as well as creative works.
Highlight Six: Hangzhou-made Animation Boutique Contents Remain Their Leading Places in China Based on Their In-depth Development of Quality and Original IPs
A large batch of original animation IPs made in Hangzhou stand out, such as Magic Eye, The Legend of Qin, A.U, Rainbow Chicks and The Wolo Family; some animation films like KUNTA 2· Hezi World, Lucky Star and God of War Kuan Kuong also hit the big screen; The Leader: Karl Marx, a themed original animation made by Wawayu Animation, is enjoying its popularity on all social networks and media platforms; Xiajiang Village’s Dream For Green Scenery, an animated documentary made by Ynuo Animation on rural revitalization is listed as a key animation project in 2020 by National Radio and Television Administration.
From 2016 to the first half of 2020, Hangzhou has 39 works listed as Excellent Domestic Animations Recommended by National Radio and Television Administration, nearly one fifth of the total number of recommendations, ranking the first place among all major cities in China by total number of the selected works annually; the city also has 11 works being selected as annual excellent domestic animated television series, standing on the top among all major cities in China by total number of the selected works annually; Spring Festival in Hangzhou, Gathering and other animations made in Hangzhou have been selected as excellent creations by activity of supporting animation short film creation with the core values of Chinese socialism; 36 animated works made in Hangzhou have been selected into “Yuandongli” China Original Animation Publishing Support Project; Da Yu, an animated series produced by Blue Star Media is included into national “Five ‘One’ Project”; besides, many Hangzhou-made original animations also become the winners of “Five ‘One’ Project” award, Cultural Boutique Project award, “Peony Award” for Television and other honorable awards, making Hangzhou the number one player in the country by the number of awards received.
In addition, animated films Liangzhu and The Snake Become Human on the themes of history, culture and folklores in Hangzhou are all under production.
Highlight Seven: The Increasing Settlements of Well-recognized Experts and Enterprises Enhance Agglomeration Effect of Animation and Game Industry in Hangzhou
At present, Hangzhou has 2 national animation industrial bases, 3 national animation teaching and research bases and 327 ACG enterprises, representing an increase of 32% in the number of enterprises from 2016.
In recent years, Liu Zhijiang, general producer of animated film Monkey King: Hero Is Back and Motie Group, a national leading comprehensive cultural and entertainment enterprise, set up film and television animation companies in Hangzhou successively. In 2020, TV Tokyo has invested 2 billion yen to establish Hangzhou Duzhiman Culture creative Co., Ltd. in Hangzhou. China Animation Comic Game Group, a domestically leading animation enterprise, Bilibili, a popular ACG video website, and “Kuaikan Comic”, the largest online reading platform of comics in China, are expanding their business in Hangzhou.
Since 2016, Ao Youxiang, a Taiwanese comic artist, settled in Hangzhou with The Wolo Family which wins great fame for him, following Cai Zhizhong, Zhu Deyong, Huang Yulang, Xia Da, Nie Jun and other animation experts. A batch of avant-garde comic artists are also growing up, and industrial masters and brilliant talented professionals are gathering, which jointly help to lift Hangzhou animation development to a new high. In the selection of the Third Animation Award of Chinese Government Award of Culture and Art, Zubao Animation won the title of “Best Animation Creation Team” and China Academy of Art snatched up the “Best Animation Teaching Institution” award.
Highlight Eight: Two Pronged Strategies of “Bringing In” and “Going Global” Constantly Expand International “Circle of Friends” of Hangzhou Animation Industry
During the 13th Five Year Plan, CICAF vigorously advanced urban internationalization in Hangzhou with foreign brands participating in the exhibition and marketing accounting for up to 32% of the total; representatives of 15 internationally renowned animation festivals and exhibitions gathered in Hangzhou Summit of International Cartoon & Animation Alliance; Animation Industrial Forum invites Oscar winner groups to share their experiences each year; International Animation & Game Business Conference (iABC) has raised attention of a great number of international animation and game enterprises and industrial practitioners and has attracted their enthusiastic participation since its first release in 2016; “MIP China Hangzhou International Film and Television Content Forum”, settled in Hangzhou in 2017, has been successfully organized for four times, making all film and television makers in the world have a deeper understanding of Hangzhou.
Meanwhile, CICAF had taken ACG enterprises in Hangzhou travelling to multiple countries and regions across five continents in the world for attending exhibitions, conferences and competitions. As of 2019, Hangzhou has organized group participation into MIPTV/MIPCOM in France for 11 consecutive years. Enterprises such as Zoland Animation, Versatile, Steam Works, Fan Fan Inc. have been diversely expanding their overseas markets by setting up foreign branches, co-investing or co-producing works with foreign companies. Zoland Animation and other enterprises have been awarded as National Key Culture Exporter, and Electronic Soul, Steam Works, Thunder Animation and other enterprises are selected into key projects of Belt and Road Initiative culture industrial international cooperation under Ministry of Culture and Tourism of The People’s Republic of China.
A batch of original and quality animations made in Hangzhou have been successfully distributed to more than 90 countries and regions. Among them, animated film Have a Nice Day was shortlisted into main competition unit of Berlin International Film Festival and entered into the long list of Best Long Animation Oscar. Director Liu Jian was selected as the member of Oscar judges; Music Box, Blessing and other animations also snatched up international animation awards; Li Lian, Founder of Versatile, became the first Asian film maker who was appointed as a judge of animation unit of Mexico International Film Festival.
Highlight Nine: Public Welfare of Animation Industry is Blooming and Cultivation of “West Lake Animation” Commonweal Brand Achieves Fruitful Results
In 2018, Hangzhou Animation Comic & Game Association established “West Lake Animation” public welfare alliance of ACG industry to carry out normal “Love Calendar” together with local ACG enterprises. So far, this commonweal brand has organized more than 20 various events comprising free animation films, animation classes, animation symphony parties, and will continue its efforts to support public welfare business by means of animation.
In recent years, by integrating with advancement of rural revitalization and poverty alleviation, Hangzhou ACG industry has been continuously carrying forward the distribution of animation culture to rural towns and villages, aiming to enrich cultural life of grass-root people with animation and show its love and concerns to rural children in an animated way. In 2017, China International Comics Exhibition under the theme of “International Animation · Beautiful Village” was organized in Jiande, and in the same year “Animation Classroom” was built up in Longshan Primary School in Fenkou Town, Chun’an County, and Culture Hall of Shedun Village also set up an “Animation Corner”; CICAF relocated its countdowns to Xiajiang Village in Chun’an County and Meicheng Town of Jiande City respectively in 2018 and 2019; in 2020, Hangzhou ACG industry went deep into villages and communities and held outdoors activities of animated film week themed on “Brilliant Chinese Animation · Joyful Summer Nights” in order to satisfy the desire of people, especially the young people, to watch the films. Now “The Wolo Family · Xiajiang Children’s Home” is under construction to provide more animation-featured services for local children and families.
Besides, Hangzhou animation also left its marks in “Public Love’s Day”, “A Truck of Books to Motuo County” and other commonweal activities.
Highlight Ten: In a Strong Mood of “Animation across the Whole City”, the Idea of “Animation in My City, Animation in My Life” is Deeply Rooted in Hearts of Hangzhou Citizens
In 2016, weak current boxes painted with animation elements and colorful animated wall paintings became an eye-catching scenery in Hangzhou, creating a favorable atmosphere for the organization of G20 Hangzhou Summit. Since 2015, special metro trains featured with animation themes have been running across Hangzhou during CICAF, which take metro carriages as carriers to unfold the charms of animation made in China and Hangzhou to all citizens and tourists.
In 2018, the first animation-themed metro station in China was rolled out in Hangzhou and 5 themes have been created from “animation makes a warmer way back to home” to “animation makes the urban life better”, becoming a famous scenic spot in Hangzhou. Starting from 2015, CICAF has been working together with International (Hangzhou) Trailwalk Conference and organizes trailwalk activities related to animation, unveiling a fascinating landscape of animation square team which is composed of throngs of animation enthusiasts, characters and cosers. Animation-related carrier activities such as animation bus, animation check-in counter, “start off the new year with animation”, Hangzhou COSPLAY Culture Festival and Baby-Cosplay Show win a great popularity among people, creating a rich atmosphere with city characteristics and animation culture.
Currently, China Comic and Animation Museum in Hangzhou is gaining momentum to fully push forward its construction, which has entered the stage of secondary detailing design and operation for display and exhibition. In recent years, animation has been widely used in increasing industries and sectors to empower their development. For example, the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou in 2022 and Hangzhou police system have their own animated mascots or images, highlighting the animation makings of Hangzhou as “City of Animation and Cartoon”.
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