China’s cultural sector eyes digital upgrade

An expert said the online cultural and entertainment industry is set to enjoy growth momentum, with the digital economy expanding into the social and cultural segment.


Two shoppers try VR games at a department store in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Liu Wenhua/China News Service

May 25, 2022

BEIJING – China’s push to bolster digitalization in the cultural industry demonstrates that cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G and big data will lay a solid technological foundation for driving high-quality development of the sector and further unleash the nation’s cultural consumption potential, industry experts said.

Their comments came after the general offices of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, China’s Cabinet, jointly released a guideline on Sunday underpinning digitalization of the cultural industry.

The country will speed up the digitalization layout of the industry, cultivate a new batch of cultural enterprises in the fields of cultural data collection, processing, trade, distribution and presentation, as well as support initial public offerings of eligible digital culture enterprises on the science and technology innovation board, also known as the STAR Market, the guideline stated.

More efforts are needed to study and formulate relevant policies to support digitalization of the cultural industry, step up financial support and establish national scientific and technological innovation centers and key laboratories in terms of cultural digitalization, it added.

Shares of cultural and media-related companies on the A-share market soared dramatically on Monday. Book publisher Dook Media Group Ltd and advertising company Zhejiang Huamei Holding Co Ltd closed at 14.82 yuan ($2.2) and 4.66 yuan, respectively.

Sinolink Securities said the latest move to promote the digitalization and high-quality development of the cultural industry is expected to help create new online and offline consumption scenarios, inject fresh impetus into the traditional cultural industry and stimulate consumption in the sector.

“The application of digital technologies, such as 5G, artificial intelligence, big data and the internet of things will empower digital transformation of the traditional cultural industry, which is also in line with the country’s broader push to facilitate the growth of the digital economy,” said Long Haibo, a senior researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council.

The online cultural and entertainment industry is set to enjoy growth momentum, Long said, adding that the digital economy has expanded into the social and cultural segment. “The digitalization of the cultural industry will also accelerate the integration of digital technologies with culture, and create new business formats and models.”

The in-depth integration of the cultural industry and digital technology has spawned a variety of emerging businesses, such as online video streaming services, livestreaming, online games, online music, online cloud exhibitions and cloud tourism, according to a report from market consultancy LeadLeo Research Institute.

Moreover, “new infrastructure “construction in the cultural sector will promote transformation and upgrade of China’s traditional cultural industry, it added.

Some cultural and technology enterprises have invested heavily in R&D, facing potential risks and challenges from operations to some extent, so the new guideline will help them get listed and seek fundraising on domestic bourses, said Li Jie, a researcher at the Digital Culture and Creative Industry Think Tank.

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