Creative partnerships strengthen trade ties between UK and China

The strong cultural and creative ties between the UK and China were celebrated and strengthened today (Thursday 7 December) in a clear demonstration of the large demand for UK goods and services in global markets.

As well as strengthening collaboration between the two countries on mutually important cultural issues, commercial deals between British and Chinese companies were signed at this week’s UK-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue (P2P).

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley met Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong at the Southbank Centre as part of a number of dialogues championing the relationship between the two nations across culture, the creative industries, sport, youth and tourism.

In the Royal Festival Hall, Minister for Creative Industries Matt Hancock and his Chinese counterpart, Vice-Minister Tong Gang, witnessed the signing of the eleven creative deals. Some of the exciting collaborations include:

  • The Building Centre announced a partnership with Shanghai Creative City that will see investment in the UK to build a China-UK Innovation Centre in London, potentially creating 100 new jobs

  • Popular Cbeebies show “Octonauts” will be expanded in China and the rest of the world through a partnership between Silvergate Media and Chinese firm Wanda

  • Veteran Warwickshire-based video game specialists Codemasters teaming up with Chinese partners to launch video games into the Chinese market

  • Soccer Manager will be co-developing their online football management games into China

China is one of the most important markets for UK creative export opportunities, with DIT aiming to double creative exports and the number of creative businesses exporting through the Creative Industries International Strategy by 2020.

Latest statistics suggest that British exports to China totalled £16.8 billion in 2016, an increase of 2.4% on the previous year, and announcements like todays show that growth is set to continue.

Last week DCMS announced the Creative Industries contributed almost £250bn to the UK economy in 2016 up 3.6 per cent year-on-year and up 29 per cent since 2010. Creative sectors now account for 14.2 per cent of the UK’s GVA.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said:

The UK’s creative industries, our culture and sport, play a vital role in shaping how we are seen around the world and boosting the economy.

And it is fantastic that in the first half of this year tourism from China increased by 47 percent, with visitors spending a record £231m.

China is a global cultural leader and I am delighted to develop future opportunities and deepen our relationship throughout this important week of events.

Minister for Investment, Mark Garnier, said:

UK exports to China are growing strongly, but it’s clear that there is still vast untapped demand for British goods and services in the Chinese market.

The opportunities for growth are there, and we will continue to cultivate relationships such as these, not only to build the UK culture of exporting, but also to help businesses of all sizes forge ties with potential buyers and investors.

Toby Evan-Jones, Business Development Director, Codemasters, said:

As the world’s largest gaming market, with a value of over $24 billion in 2016, the strategic importance of China for any video game business is clear. For a number of years, Codemasters has been actively exploring strategic alliances within China and we’ve been lucky enough to build some very strong relationships during this time, with multiple deals signed in recent months. This includes the release of two of our games on PC in China, DiRT 4 and F1 2017, in collaboration with Tencent.

This year’s P2P celebrates the opening of the V&A gallery at Design Society in Shekou, the first permanent presence of a British museum outside the UK. The event also looks forward to the display of the Terracotta Warriors for the first time in over a decade in the UK at Liverpool World Museum in 2018. Other key agreements and announcements as part of the P2P in other DCMS sectors include:

  • A renewal of the current Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tourism (due to expire in September 2018) aiming to increase the number of visitors between UK and China

  • Cooperation between the China Academy of Cultural Heritage and Historic England on the preservation and innovative management of the Great Wall of China and Hadrian’s Wall

  • The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Fuzhou Culture and Tourism Investment Company signed an MoU to recreate Shakespeare’s birthplace and family home in China at a new centre celebrating three great literary figures – Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Tang Xianzu, the region’s own famous son who is regarded as the Shakespeare of the East.

  • An MoU promoting cultural cooperation between Shanghai Municipal Administration and Festivals Edinburgh through a series of initiatives including the exploration of opportunities for artists, arts professionals and senior cultural influencers, knowledge transfer in aspects of festival management and the development of relationships aimed at an exchange of productions

  • The Royal Opera House and the Shanghai Grand Theatre Arts Group signed an MoU setting out a framework of exchange and joint activities

The British Library and Shanghai Library to co-operate on the exhibition “Treasures from the Literary Archive”

Notes to Editors

Other UK-Chinese creative partnerships announced at the signing ceremony include:

  • Chinese Company Beijing Yidiantong Productions Ltd to acquire the sole and exclusive license of TV shows “Alice’s Adventures Underground” and “Adventures in Wonderland” in China

  • BYD, the sixth-largest car manufacturer in China, will launch a rally car in Codemaster’s DiRt 4 game

  • A documentaries partnership between UK Company Clipper Media and Chinese Company Shuimu Xinxin Media on “Sherlock Holmes” and “The Porcelain City”

  • A film co-production on “The Overseas Chinese”, a large-scale TV series themed on overseas immigration, between UK Company Propeller TV and Chinese Company Shanghai QianYi Zhicheng Culture and Media

  • An MoU to collaborate on pre-recorded, live-stream, stage and live performance technology and intellectual property between the Royal Opera House and Chinese Company Tencent

  • A music agreement between UK Company Really Useful Group Ltd and Chinese Company SMG Performing Arts Group

  • A co-production of the film “Special Couple” between UK Company Zephyr Special Couple Ltd and Shanghai Dimension Film

Both the UK and Chinese governments acknowledged successful cooperation in culture, tourism and sport since last year, including:

  • Increased exchange and partnership between public cultural institutions, including exhibitions such as “A History of the World in 100 Objects” co-presented by the National Museum of China, Shanghai Museum and the British Museum and cooperation between city art festivals, such as the cooperation agreement between Shanghai and Edinburgh

  • The Royal Shakespeare Company’s programme of co-produced translations of Shakespeare’s work for Chinese audiences the Royal Opera House performing arts skills exchange programme with UK partners and the Shanghai Grand Theatre

  • Opening of the Design Society in Shenzhen and its inaugural exhibition Values of Design, at the new V&A Gallery and the launch of the China-UK Arts Management Professional Development Programme

  • The British Council and Beijing University jointly hosted China-UK Cultural Heritage High Level Dialogue in February 2017

  • The UK-China Gaming Creative Skills Workshop to share policy and know-how in game development and marketing and implementation of the Film Co-Production Agreement and TV Co-Production Agreement.

  • Cooperation between UK and Chinese publishing houses and publication of Chinese-themed books in the UK

  • China carried out the “Beautiful China 2017 Year of Silk Road Tourism” campaign in the UK

  • VisitBritain partnered with SuperSports, China’s official Premier League broadcaster, to launch a competition to find China’s biggest Premier League fan

  • Chinese Wushi, Dragon Dance and Rouli Ball teams visited UK for exchange and training

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