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Xiamen's stage set for film, TV industry

By Xiang Wenjian| chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: Sep 5, 2019


Gulangyu Islet in Xiamen's Siming district. [Photo by Xiang Wenjian/chinadaily.com.cn]

East China's Xiamen and Cannes in France have more in common than just luxurious seaside resorts and stunning ocean views, they are also both home to flourishing entertainment industries.

After being selected to host the China Golden Rooster Film Festival for the next 10 years, Xiamen in Fujian province has been developing a film and TV industry to rival that of its French counterpart.

The China Golden Rooster Film Festival has traditionally been held in a different city each time.

Zhang Hong, director of the China Film Association, said at a news conference in April that the association had been seeking a permanent host city for the festival.

Xiamen beat out several other prospective cities thanks to its economic strength, burgeoning film industry, and related favorable policies, according to city officials.

The coastal city, sometimes dubbed the "Garden on the Sea", is among the most popular tourist destinations in China.

Han Jingyi, deputy mayor of Xiamen, said that the city is confident about hosting the prestigious film event and expanding its global influence, adding that efforts will be made to develop Xiamen into a film production hub.

Siming, the central district in the city, is home to Gulangyu Islet, a UNESCO World Heritage site and must-see tourist site. The district has been dubbed a "natural studio" and is a perfect place for photography.

The district's unspoiled landscapes, rich culture, and long history attract more than 100 film crews from home and abroad each year, according to incomplete statistics.

On May 6, Siming was acknowledged as "the most beautiful movie set in China" at a promotional event during the 72nd Cannes Film Festival in France.

To date, five locations in the district, including Gulangyu Islet and Shapowei, have been designated as Xiamen Film and TV Shooting Locations.

Official data show that film and television projects valued at 6 billion yuan ($867.54 million) were signed on the sidelines of the news conference.

Zhu Weijie, chairman of Wisart Media Co, said that the company would team up with the Siming government to develop the four-kilometer-long section of Huandao Road as a film shooting location.

Beijing-based Mountain Top Media Group decided to relocate its headquarters to Xiamen from Beijing, along with its affiliated stars' studios. Li Zhiyuan, general manager of the education department at Mountain Top, revealed that Xiamen was chosen primarily due to its culture, climate, location, and local government support.

In late August, the Xiamen municipal government released a slate of policies to advance the development of the film and TV industry, including attracting film and TV businesses, urging the creation and trading of scripts, and encouraging related companies to attend festivals and fairs.

According to the document, outside film and TV companies that choose to move to Xiamen will be entitled to a 100 percent corporate income tax and VAT rebate during the first two years of setting up operations and 80 percent after three years.

The local government will also provide various sorts of cash rewards for companies registered in Xiamen whose products win awards, such as the Golden Rooster Awards, or are broadcast at prime time on top platforms like CCTV.

The cultural industry has seen fast growth in Xiamen in recent years, growing an average of 15 percent per year, official data show. Experts predict that in the next five to ten years, the film and TV industry will contribute around five percent to the city's gross domestic product (GDP), making it a pillar industry in the city.

Xiamen is currently home to a provincial film and TV industry park which accommodates more than 500 film enterprises such as Base FX, a famous international film and TV special effects company.

Founded in 1992, the Golden Rooster festival will take place from Nov 19-23 at the Xiamen International Convention and Exhibition Center. Last year, the roving event took place in Foshan in South China's Guangdong province.