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Industry Report: Focus: Asia & Oceania

Murdoch: Chinese film market growth 'extraordinary'


- Speaking at a film forum on Sunday during this week's Shanghai International Film Festival, media mogul Rupert Murdoch expressed amazement at rapid growth of the Chinese film market but warned that China has to protect its intellectual property rights if it wants to continue growing. By Pang Li

"Over the years, you have made Shanghai one of the world's premier film capitals," Murdoch said. "The simple truth is there is no more exciting [film] market in the world than [the Chinese market]."

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"In 2005 the total box office [in China] was just a hundred and fifty million dollars. In 2010, China's box office grew to one and a half billion dollars, which is really extraordinary," he said.

Murdoch noted that Chinese people's increased buying power is driving the industry's rapid growth. Responding to the soaring demand, China also has been rapidly expanding its theatrical infrastructure, adding 3 to 4 screens every day. "There is nothing like this anywhere in the world," he said.

Murdoch said it is important to "fuel the pipeline with more local films" and bring more films to China to maintain the current level of growth. "It's equally critical to have strong and enforceable intellectual property rights to protect artists," he said. This kind of strong protection is also beneficial to investors by insuring a long strain of revenue in the long term, he added.

In addition, Murdoch noted there are large number of smart phone users in China, which has created huge demand for content such as films and TV programs.

Murdoch came to Shanghai to promote "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," the first film that his wife Wendi Deng Murdoch has produced. The Sino-U.S. co-production is slated for a wide release in China on June 24. It will be released in North America by Fox Searchlight Pictures in July.


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