New world order

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Brenda Wooding’s recent piece for AWN, “Has the Chinese Animation Industry Finally Turned the Corner?”, provides a fairly good summary of the sea change in China’s animation industry, from a Western point-of-view.

Although the article’s title suggests a singular turning point, China’s storied animation industry has always been more of a labyrinth, harking back to the days of PRINCESS IRON FAN (1941) – the first animated feature film to be made outside of the USA, within spitting distance of Disney’s SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937).

As covered in the AWN article and here in this blog (in posts such as “China’s new normal”, “China rising” and “So, you want to make a Chinese movie…”) a few things are clear:

  • China’s animation industry is on the verge of a renaissance.
  • China’s animation industry still has a long way to go.
  • Foreign companies’ futures in China are limited.
  • Foreign consultants’ days in China are numbered.

The future of Chinese animation belongs to the next generation of creative-minded, up-and-coming local studios not mentioned in the AWN article – the ones run by talented, savvy Chinese veterans of the major Western studios.

Foreigners seeking opportunities in China must form “boots-on-the-ground” partnerships with trusted, passionate Chinese creators in order to truly be in the game.  Although this requires more effort than signing on with a multi-national corporation or taking a short-term consulting gig, you’ll be playing for keeps.

 

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