Monday, May 6, 2013

Entertainment with Chinese Charateristics

Super Girl,” - a Chinese talent
show similar to “American Idol

which draws audiences in the region
of 400 million
Will Chinese softpower grow up to rival Western softpower? The West has been held in awe by the rest of the world over the last two centuries for its capabilities. Will China’s rapidly growing capabilities over the last three decades, now create wonder and admiration in favor of China and reduce Western attractiveness? This is a question which has begun to alarm many Western analysts over the last few years. China has managed to impress the world with its economic and commercial success, but in the more important cultural field the Chinese record of the recent past has not been too impressive. However, as we have seen repeatedly in other fields, the Chinese juggernaut does manage to notch up unexpected successes - sometimes just because of its sheer size and its investment capabilities. In article link below, one finds that Chinese TV programs are achieving remarkable success in winning hearts and minds in Taiwan. The Taiwanese have become obsessed with Chinese TV shows – song competitions, soap operas, historicals, etc. So much so that even news channels have started showing Chinese entertainment programs. The common language makes it much easier for China to project softpower in this specific instance. 

Replicating similar success with the West and with the rest of the non-Chinese speaking world will obviously not be easy, but then the Chinese have been known to show remarkable agility and continuously reinvent their business models in the light of their experiences and grow past insurmountable problems – linguistic and otherwise. In this case, if Language Barrier is the ultimate Immovable Object, Chinese resourcefulness is an Unstoppable Force which must not be underestimated. It is therefore difficult to hazard a guess as to how much of the global entertainment industry will start showing Chinese characteristics in the years to come. But if one has to make a guess they will probably begin it quietly through media company takeovers and make their entry into this industry basically as promoters without ruffling any feathers. And as technical experts - directors (Ang Lee); actors (Jackie Chan, Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh ), etc.  It is only after they have gained substantial marketshare, in a second phase that deeper Chinesification in terms of Chinese themes and Chinese cultural values will probably emerge on to the global stage. We could all be - Willingly turning Chinese and Lovin' it too.

Click here to read article

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