January 20, 2023
BEIJING – The 20th Forum on International Cultural Industries in China recently gathered policymakers, researchers and industry insiders to deliver an overview of the development of the cultural industry in 2022 and examine future trends and vitality of the sector.
The forum, over Jan 7-8 in Beijing, focused on the Chinese path to modernization and new successes in developing a socialist culture.
The recovery of the cultural industry in the post-pandemic era will accelerate and give rise to new vitality.
Xiang Yong, Peking University professor
Ten events in six categories were held, including the main forum, theme discussion, summit on creative management and think tank dialogues. The forum was hosted by Peking University and organized by its School of Arts and Institute for Cultural Industries.
Sun Qingwei, vice-president of Peking University, said he hoped it would continue to track and analyze the development of Chinese cultural industry, and provide new voices, experiences and thinking for socialist cultural construction.
Seven Chinese and foreign participants from the field of culture delivered keynote speeches and discussed patterns in quality development of the cultural industry, urban construction, emerging industries and cultural confidence.
Liu Yuzhu, head of China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation said the present prosperity of China’s cultural market is unprecedented, and the main reason is people’s demand for culture and support and promotion from the Party and government.
“The cultural industry, with its content-based nature, is an industry that everyone can participate in,” Liu said. “There are tourism projects worth billions of yuan and movies and TV series costing tens of millions of yuan in the industry.”
Even individuals can run WeChat accounts on cultural items or themes, he said.
Liu said content is at the core and technology will support the development of the industry and content creators should endeavor to make quality content.
Li Xiangmin, vice-president of Nanjing University of the Arts, pointed out that the Industrial Revolution not only started the industrialization of human society, but also brought a dramatic social change, in which modernization emerged.
“There is not one paradigm for the modernization of human society,” Li said, emphasizing that the Chinese path to modernization is both a practice and the manifestation of cultural self-confidence.
Shahbaz Khan, director of the UNESCO Beijing Office, said the diverse manifestations of culture are enriching lives in countless ways. “Culture and creativity are increasingly seen as sustainable, renewable and omnipresent resources,” he said.
Xiang Yong, head of the Institute for Cultural Industries, Peking University, said the Chinese path to modernization is one in which people’s spiritual and cultural lives are enriched.
“We need not only promote self-improvement and self-confidence and develop cultural undertakings and industries but also enhance the influence of Chinese civilization,” Xiang said.
Xiang shared his thoughts on trends in the industry. He mentioned 10 key terms of the industry in 2022 that included “metaverse cultural industry, immersive cultural tourism experience, digital empowerment of rural vitalization, artificial intelligence and ice-snow industry”.
He predicted that in 2023 the digitalization of China’s cultural industry will enter a new stage and give rise to new opportunities, virtualization and intelligence development, with “metaverse” moving mainstream.
“The recovery of the cultural industry in the post-pandemic era will accelerate and give rise to new vitality, and the cultural industry will continue to contribute to the vigorous development of rural vitalization,” he said.
The main forum was broadcast live on different platforms, including Sina Weibo, Bilibili, Douyin and WeChat, and was watched over 1.25 million times by audiences across the country who interacted online.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the forum, which aims to provide insights into the progress of China’s cultural industry through the intersection of academic thinking and practical innovation.
A short film on the forum’s 20 years was released during the opening ceremony.
“Metaverse” was a major topic during the two-day event. The Institute for Cultural Industries launched a report on the “modern expression of Chinese culture” via the technology during the forum.
Xiang delivered the report that systematically elaborates on the main technical aspects, expression paths and application of scenarios of cultural DNA “empowered by meta universe”.
Chen Shaofeng, head of the academic board at the Institute for Cultural Industries, said the industry’s development has been through three historical stages, from media-based and internet-based to the current technology-based.
“The feature of the ‘metaverse’ cultural industry is the integration of humanistic and technological immersion and the combination of online and offline activities,” Chen said, adding that the “metaverse “is “more asset-light or technology-driven experience”.
Chen said the main aspect of the “meta universe”, which is a core concept of digital economy in a specific industrial field and application scenario, is cross-industry integration.
He added that new features of the business model included the demand for skilled workers, an increase in the proportion of digital technology and the coexistence of business opportunities and challenges in the copyright industry.
Ma Ke, CEO of AiHuaShen Technology Beijing, a company focused on “metaverse” digital integration marketing, said the emergence of the approach provided a wide space for the production, dissemination and application scenarios of digital culture.
He said “metaverse” can be applied in various cultural fields such as intangible cultural heritage, scenic areas, cultural relics, rural culture and festivals.
“We are looking forward to using ‘metaverse’ to bring new stories, experiences and consumption, and using technology to empower culture, and meanwhile using culture to give value to technology,” Ma said.