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Chinese comics find inspiration in traditional culture
2008/10/30

Authorities in Guangzhouplan to spend up to 180 million yuan ($24.9 million) a year over the next four years to aid the development of the comics and animation industries, officials said.

"There is a promising market for the comics and animation industry as the city has introduced a series of preferential policies to support and develop the industries," said Fan Xu, director of the Guangzhou press, publication, and radio and television (copyright) bureau.

Guangzhou is home to more than 120 comics and animation companies, which generate combined annual revenues of more than 10 billion yuan, about a fifth of the nation's total, Fan said.

"Of the planned investment, we will spend about 20 million yuan a year in nurturing new talent, and a further 30 million yuan on awards and recognition for original comics and animation products," he said.

Fan said the city has also approved four comics and animation development parks.

International cooperation

The city government will also expand international cooperation and attract more human resources to boost its industry.

"Guangzhou is expecting to expand its cooperation with neighboring Hong Kong in developing the cartoon industry in the future," Fan said.

For example, more comic buffs in Hong Kong will get the opportunity to savor original comics and animation works on the Chinese mainland, thanks to a growing number of deals signed between the city's publication companies and mainland artists recently.

"The signing of publication contracts with mainland artists is of great importance to strengthening collaboration between Hong Kong and the mainland in the sector of comics and animation," said Alan Wan, secretary of the Hong Kong Comics and Animation Federation Limited.

At last year's Golden Dragon Award of Original Animation and Comic Competition (OACC), a number of mainland winners struck deals with leading domestic and overseas animation publication companies.

Guangzhou is the host city for the annual Golden Dragon Award of Original Animation and Comic Competition (OACC), one of the leading nationwide events of the animation and comic industry.

"Artists from the mainland will find a promising market in Hong Kong as both sides are pushing forward cooperation in this sector," Wan said.

Close collaboration with Hong Kong, featuring mainly traditional Chinese culture of martial cartoons and animation products, will help mainland producers "go global", according to Jin Cheng, chief editor of the Guangzhou-based Comic Fans magazine.

Jin added that more mainland original products will be available in Hong Kong in the near future as "more Hong Kong publishers are expected to sign contracts with mainland animation and comic artists".

Eminent Guangzhou-based young cartoonist Ding Bing said: "We are also expecting more products to be exported to foreign countries and Hong Kong could serve as a good platform for Chinese products to 'go overseas'."

Traditional culture

A number of leading cartoonists have said that as well as developing international cooperation, domestic animation and comics should focus on traditional Chinese culture, rather than just imitate foreign publications.

"Only by depicting traditional Chinese culture can domestic animators and comic artists find a way to compete with their foreign counterparts," said Cai Zhi-zhong, a popular cartoonist based in Taiwan.

"Cartoons speak in a language that not only expresses satire and humor, but also reflects love and spirit.

"I am particularly fond of ancient Chinese philosophies, so I create cartoons out of them," Cai said.

Meanwhile, Guangzhou will bid for the 2010 International Comic Artist Conference, according to Liang Zhengxiang, deputy director of the Guangzhou press, radio and television (copyright) bureau.

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