International Exchange: Focus on China.

Posted on: Wednesday 03 July 2013 4:19pm by Samuel Hutchinson

Blogger: Samuel Hutchinson.

Very useful and informative from a practical point of view.
Eamon McElwee (Producer – Global Media Finance LTD)

They covered almost everything. Especially for new starters.
Ge Gao (Trade and Investments – UKTI).

It’s time to break through the wall. There are huge opportunities in China, particularly over the next three years. But soon someone will come along and build a castle and it will be really hard to break through. The opportunities are there over the next three years.
Jonathan So.

Top Ten takeaways:

1) What are you waiting for? Even small breaks in China can make you a multi-millionaire!
2) BUT first you have to break through the WALL!
3) Learn to communicate well with your partners. Consider a cultural translator if negotiations reach that level.
4) Linked to the previous point, take the time to develop an understanding of the culture you want to work in. Simple misunderstandings can be easily prevented.
5) Have the right approach – establish a report with independent broadcasters, including the online suppliers.
6) Choose a simple project and start off small.
7) Pay attention to the target age groups for content. Pre-School is particularly popular.
8) Be conscious of censorship and regulation. These are major issues in China.
9) Develop strong partnerships with the right people – the importance of this could not have been emphasised more greatly.

If you manage to do all these things and you DO break through the wall, then, rest assured…

10) …there are BIG opportunities in China! How do we know this? Well, in Jonathan So’s own words, he is ” ready for you!” What are you waiting for?

This session was a real treat, as an expert panel gave a brief yet insightful overview of the Chinese Market and, more crucially to those in attendance, how to break into it.

While many sessions over the course of the conference will inevitably involve the reinforcing of hard realities on “breaking in” to Children’s Media – and for the better – this particular session could not have left you feeling anything other than positive. The emphasis of the fact there are opportunities in China could not have been greater and the panel spoke with passion and clarity on everything from content to culture.

Case studies were used to sterling effect – the issue of regulation was highlighted by Richard’s recollection of his experiences in Malaysia, where his Censorship team was 4 times the size of his content team. Meanwhile, Claire likened the experiences of her own Yellow House English to the journey of a story protagonist as she took us on the journey of the company to find a platform for pre-school content in China. Astute tactics included building a reputation for quality in Education by writing school books for publishers and showing commitment to culture by winning an award for writing a song for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. However, Claire got a little more than she bargained for, as she became one of only 10 foreigners linked to the games and found herself being photographed cycling around Beijing!

However, the main points to take away from the session could not have been more clear. First and foremost, the importance of finding the right partner (potentially across each medium) was touched upon independently by each member of the panel. James went as far as to declare it, “the key to success”. And, indeed, this is a message that reinforces the importance of events such as this one. So, it seems fitting to end with it!

I’m not saying that we should all run off to China and make millions. The notion of THE WALL was ever-present throughout the session and, if there was one area in which the panel differed in agreement, it was on just how difficult it is to break through this “wall”. Some suggested it was not as difficult as some think whilst others maintained it was a tall order. But, on the other side of this wall, the opinion that opportunities are there if you are prepared to put in the time and the energy was unanimous. Certainly an overall very positive session. So, give it some thought……

…they are ready for you.

Leanne Preston (Company Director/Creative Consultant – Bright Box Creative).

James Chen Gu (Director of Strategy and Planning – Uyoung Media and Entertainment Inc).
Richard Langridge (Lecturer and Consultant – Asia, Sydney).
Claire Selby (CEO -Yellow House English Limited).
Jonathan So (Director – Yong Lee Innovative Education LTD).

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Samuel Hutchinson

About the author

Samuel Hutchinson

BBC, Script Reader

Upon graduating from Bournemouth University's Scriptwriting degree in 2012, Sam started working as a Script Reader for BBC Continuing Drama. He has since also become Development Executive for independent film company, Silver Leaf Pictures, and is currently developing further feature film projects with We Move Pictures, who will be taking… Read more