Chinese Entertainment Industry Braces for a ‘Cold Winter’ in 2019

Variety | 1/21/2019 | Rebecca Davis
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Winter is here for the Chinese entertainment industry, a half-dozen top-tier industry professionals concurred in Beijing at the launch last week of Tencent Entertainment’s annual data-filled white paper.

China’s box office hit new heights in 2018, raking in about $9 billion, but it was also a year of drastic regulatory changes and a government tax crackdown that have spooked investors and put projects across the country on hold.

Period - Winter - Film - TV - Companies

“Why call this period a ‘cold winter’? In 2018, 20 film and TV companies saw RMB160 billion of stock market value evaporate, while eight saw their valuation fall by more than 50%. The departure of capital has also made the entire film industry encounter unprecedented difficulties,” said Bona Film Group CEO Yu Dong, who was present to receive an award for “trending movie figure of the year.” Bona-backed “Operation Red Sea” was the top film at the Chinese box office last year, grossing more than $530 million (RMB3.65 billion).

Zhang Liyi, chief editor of online news portal Tencent Entertainment, joked about how people had felt the impact of the slowdown personally. “Before, everyone would always ask each other at get-togethers, ‘Have you eaten? Where are you going on holiday?’ Then in 2018, the most common greetings became ‘Is your project still alive?’ ‘Did your business partner run away?’ ‘Did you finish paying your taxes?’”

Film - Industry - Summer - Superstar - Fan

The film industry was shaken last summer when superstar Fan Bingbing temporarily disappeared from the public eye and was docked nearly $70 million in fines for tax evasion. The episode sparked a governmental push to tighten tax regulations, with many production companies now slammed with requests for back taxes.

The year to come will be about finding ways to cope with a new normal, many at last Wednesday’s Tencent event said.

Everyone - Industry - Stage - Production

“Everyone in the industry has already felt it: The stage of intensive production...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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