BEIJING, June 19 The Chinese government will
spend 1 billion yuan ($163 million) a year to support the
domestic movie industry, including producing films and funding
the construction of digital cinemas, state media said on
The money will go to help produce five to 10 films a year
and build the cinemas mostly in the poorer centre and west of
the country, the official Xinhua news agency said.
"The cultural development fund will specifically promote
movie-making technology, help exports of Chinese films, invest
in commercial productions and build film websites," it said.
Xinhua did not say over how many years the government would
provide such funding.
Banks would also be encouraged to lend to the sector,
production companies would be encouraged to list on the stock
market and issue bonds, and insurance companies would be
encouraged to buy stakes in film companies, it added.
Hollywood has traditionally dominated China's box office,
but Chinese films overtook their U.S. rivals in 2013 taking more
than 58 percent of the box office, according to state media, and
the government has been keen to boost domestic talent.
U.S. studios have been taking steps to appeal to the
fast-growing Chinese box office, which hit 21.8 billion yuan
Production companies like Viacom Inc's Paramount
Picture and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc have hired
Chinese actors and set up co-productions with Chinese firms to
make inroads into the mainland market.
But China's often draconian film regulators hold a tight
grip over the market, controlling the inflow of foreign films in
order to protect the box office share of domestic ventures.
($1 = 6.2090 Chinese Yuan Renminbi)
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)