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Cultural industries get a major boost

Time:2017-05-12   Source:China Daily USA

Business opportunities are arising for creative industries along the Belt and Road routes, especially for small to medium-sized enterprises, as China promotes cultural exchanges through the initiative.

The 13th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair, which opened on Thursday and lasts for five days, has brought exhibitors from 35 countries to set up booths at the fair's international hall under the Belt and Road theme. Only 15 participated two years ago when the ICIF launched the hall.

From India's woodcarvings to Turkey's colorful ceramics, the exhibition hall dazzles visitors with traditional folk handicrafts. But there are also cool modern designs and technologies from companies looking for a toehold in the huge Chinese market.

The Belt and Road Initiative is making entry easier by improving connectivity between countries.

"We are a small company in a small country. The only way for us to develop well is collaborating with foreign partners to venture into the global market," said Egle Opeikiene, general manager of March Design Studio Ltd, a Lithuanian company making its debut at the ICIF.

"The Belt and Road is really important for us because we will have quicker logistics and easier communication, with better roads, faster railways and probably, more efficient customs clearance," she said.

Opeikiene's design studio is a member of the Lithuanian Designers' Society, which has sent a delegation to Shenzhen to attend the fair for five consecutive years. The creative industries in the Baltic country have developed fast in the past 15 years, and it's time to tap into increasing demand in the Chinese market for "designs to make life better", Opeikiene said.

One of the exhibited designs is a reflective badge that keeps walkers safer on dark streets while also serving as a fashion accessory.

Opeikiene's company has just started doing business in Asia but hopes to increase the region's share of its total revenue to 20 percent. China is the most important market for its business expansion.

"This is my first visit to China. The fair is a great platform for us to get in close touch with potential clients," Opeikiene said.

Speech Graphics, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, has brought original technology that is capable of automatically animating 3D avatars using the speaker's voice. When you speak into a microphone, an animated character on the digital device's screen automatically makes the shape your mouth makes with the sounds.

Gregor Hofer, company CEO, had a busy day at the cultural fair talking to Chinese animation and gaming companies for potential business deals since the technology can cut production costs. He also hopes to work with Chinese social media since the technology could make online chatting more fun.

"We're very interested in the Chinese market because they embrace digital technology and social media very well. Social media like WeChat is fundamental to young people, so we see very good market opportunities here," Hofer said.

Hofer's company is one of the six British exhibitors in creative industries that the Edinburgh-Shenzhen Creative Exchange, an incubation center with bases in both Edinburgh and Shenzhen, invited to the ICIF this year.