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).
- 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.