Report – The Route to China

Posted on: Friday 07 July 2017 8:29am

From brand IP owners through to a production facilities, if you have ambitions to work with media in China then the China International Cartoon Animation Festival (CICAF) is the place to be. How do you maximise your chances of success? Are you sure you are ready? If you are going to have a once in a lifetime chance to showcase your brand, your creation, who you are and what you do, then be prepared and make it count. If you are not ready, don’t go until you are…


  • The Chinese market is on a scale you will not have imagined
  • China is hungry both for new content AND to find worldwide partners for Chinese IPs
  • The UK has a reputation in China for quality animation and IP
  • It’s different – from social norms and conventions to the legal framework. Be prepared for surprises and check understanding again and again


Sarah Baynes chaired this debate about the route to success in the Chinese media industry, with a distinguished panel including Shen Bin from CICAF (China International Cartoon Animation Festival) and Yu ‘Yves’ Hongqing from Mega Media, Helen Howells of HoHo Entertainment, Tony Humphreys from the DIT and Jon Rennie of Cloth Cat Animation. Perfect World (the second biggest Chinese games company) were also in the audience.

CICAF is huge. It is held annually in Hangzhou, ‘the capital of Chinese animation’, and has been running for 13 years. The festival is split into two sections – the animation, media and gaming festival itself and a business conference. With 1.4 million visitors, 2,587 companies, and 986 business projects worth around 15 billion Yen, CICAF is the place to be to establish contacts and start business with China. Check out the CICAF website for all the details.

John Rennie and Perfect World both pointed out that China wants to find its own voice internationally, so Chinese media companies are looking for representatives and partners for Chinese culture, mythology, stories and IP – it’s not just about placing UK IP into the Chinese market.

Tony clearly made the points that animation and characters are not age or nationality specific and so cross borders, that animation is very popular in China and that the new co-production treaty between the UK and China should really help businesses from the two countries in “finding a route to working with each other”.

Be prepared, or don’t go – down to the details of clear expectations (back to back meetings all week) and making sure you have an interpreter. As Helen Howells put it, “you have to do your homework – it is hard to break through so prepare in advance and consider all the steps”. There will be surprises – social norms, how business is done and the legal framework are all very different.

The first foray into CICAF from CMC and the DIT was a success, so Tony is looking at how the UK can be a bigger presence. If you want to get your characters and animation established in China, or think you could be a great partner for a Chinese company in the field, you need to be at CICAF – and maybe the DIT and CMC can help!

By guest blogger Andy Jones

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