China is now the second biggest spender on television content in the world ($10.9bn in 2017, according to IHS Markit) – surpassed only by the US. While a significant proportion of this total (49%) can be attributed to the country’s booming domestic production business, the country’s broadcasters and VOD platforms have also developed a voracious appetite for international coproductions and acquisitions.

This was evident at MIPCOM 2018, where a large delegation of Chinese decision-makers came to celebrate their country’s status as Country of Honour (COH). Among them was Fan Weiping, Vice-Minister at China’s State Administration for Radio and Television (SART), who said: “Policies for China’s film and TV industry are featured with openness. As of 2018, China has signed co-production agreements with 21 countries, such as New Zealand, the UK and India.”

Speaking at MIPCOM’s Coproducing With China Forum, Fan Weiping discussed how “Chinese and foreign media agencies have co-operated in creating a series of high-quality film and TV products including Kung-Fu Yoga, jointly produced by China and India; Born in China produced by China and the US; the China-Czech co-produced animated series The Panda and Little Mole; documentary series Big Pacific, co-produced by China and New Zealand; the China-UK documentary Confucius; and China-US documentary series Treasures of the Earth.”

Also presenting at the Forum, executives from companies including Shanghai Media Group, HBO Asia, SPT and Fox Networks Group Asia (FNGA) endorsed the spirit of co-operation outlined by the minister – outlining a range of co-production projects they had been involved with. FNGA executive vice-president, content and communications, Keertan Adyanthaya said: “National Geographic has produced hundreds of hours of programming in China in recent years, across genres such as wildlife, the environment, history and culture. It has been a powerful cultural exchang that has taken China to the world and the world to China.” The message from the Forum was echoed across the week at MIPCOM.

Among the many partnerships on show, BBC Studios and Tencent entered a co-production agreement for natural history series Dynasties. This was part of a wider deal that will also see the partners work together to create a Chinese fanbase for the BBC Earth Tribe website, which has just gone live on Tencent Video. David Weiland, executive vice-president, Asia, for BBC Studios, explained how the new deal was an extension of a partnership that has already seen the companies collaborate on Blue Planet II and Planet Earth II: “We are very excited to extend our partnership with Tencent and work with them to build a community of likeminded natural history fans,” he said.

Get the report in this special China-focused bonus to the official post-show Review, compiled by the MIPCOM News team. Just leave your details on the right to access the full document!

About Author

Julian Newby is editor in chief of MIP Publications, namely the MIPTV/MIPCOM Previews, daily News magazines and supplements. He is also co-founder of Boutique Editions, a UK-based publishing and design house providing products and services for the international film, TV and creative communities.

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