Chinese public cultural institutions go private

Progress has been made in converting government-funded cultural institutions into private enterprises, Minister of Culture Cai Wu said Wednesday.

Cai made the comment when delivering a report on cultural system reform to national lawmakers at a bi-monthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislature.

Cultural sector restructuring has been ongoing since 2006 with the purpose of boosting the sector and turning its government-funded cultural institutions into enterprises.

More than 580 publishing houses, 3,000 bookstores, 850 movie producers and distributors, 57 public TV series producers and the marketing sectors of 38 Communist Party of China (CPC) newspapers and journals have been restructured and turned into enterprises.

Another 3,271 non-political newspapers and journals funded by the government have gone private as well.

Cai also briefed the lawmakers on the development of cultural industry, stating that mergers, acquisitions and public listings in the sector have been promoted.

Thirty-eight cultural enterprises were listed on the Shanghai and Hong Kong bourses as of the end of August.

Cai said China has invested 620 million yuan (99.2 million U.S. dollars) in supporting technology-intensive cultural enterprises, including those operating in the new media and digital publication sectors.

The export volume of China’s core cultural products jumped from 3.08 billion U.S. dollars in 2001 to 18.68 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, Cai said.

In a Wednesday interview with Xinhua, Cai said the NPC Standing Committee’s review of the report ahead of the 18th CPC National Congress reflects the high attention they have paid to the country’s cultural drive.

“By hearing and reviewing the report, the NPC Standing Committee will understand the achievements and experiences in cultural reform in a more objective and thorough manner and thus clarify its direction and goals for deepening reforms and promoting prosperity and development,” Cai said.

Cai said the review will also help committee members to better understand reform-related problems and give more specific advice.

Cai said immature cultural enterprises, weak public cultural services in remote areas, the cultural industry’s limited share in the economy and a lack of high-quality talent are the problems currently facing the sector.

Cai said many cultural groups are still struggling to adapt to a modern management system after transforming from public-owned to for-profit enterprises.

Cai vowed increased investment in building a practical and efficient public cultural service system to ensure basic cultural interests while continuing reforms and innovation to realize the cultural industry’s role as a pillar industry for the national economy.

CAi said cultural legislation and exports should be accelerated in order to boost the international influence of Chinese culture.

Xinhua