China’s Floundering Animation Industry

A recent article in China blames subsidies for the country’s floundering animation industry:

Yet as the local government approved more studios and promoted the animations industry as the city’s brand, the companies themselves kept cutting costs. In the end, the project became a land grabbing opportunity for the government and a rat race for the studios.

“Companies are encouraged to produce more animations and take government subsidies, so many of the works are poor in quality,” Jiang Xianguo, Party secretary of the Changzhou Creative Industries Park, said.

There are also not enough animation jobs to keep up with the graduating rate of animation majors:

There are nearly 300,000 Chinese students majoring in animation in 2010. According to the “Chinese College Graduates’ Employment Annual Report (2011),” released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, animation ranks first among majors with a “red card” warning, meaning the number of graduates in the particular field is exceeding the demand of the job market.

I wrote a post many months ago that showed many of the problems VFX facilities face here are the same for Chinese facilities: A race to the bottom business model, rapidly growing labor costs, and outsourcing to cheaper countries.

I don’t have a problem with China’s subsidization of its own animation industry. They are for Chinese companies to help foster content for their own growing population. I have a problem when subsidies are used to lure jobs from the US domestic film industry.

What’s remarkable about the article is that even with rock bottom wages, the Chinese animation industry is heavily dependent on subsidies from the government. You’d figure companies would be jumping left and right to do work in China. I’ve seen some feature film vfx work done by facilities in China and just abruptly fade away. There are a lot more logistics involved in VFX and animation than just wages.

Lastly, I wrote an observation about the Indian VFX and Animation industry that I will say about China’s industry: There really isn’t that much of a VFX or Animation industry in China, but there is a huge EDUCATION industry. Many families and governments will throw tons of money for the prestige of an education degree. It’s big business in India and China to have a school that charges big bucks for crappy VFX degrees.

Keep that notion in mind. You’ll find that narrative play out in a big way in the coming future.

Soldier On.

3 Responses to China’s Floundering Animation Industry

  1. meh says:

    I guess I can use this post in my next pay negotiation then, management won’t be able to use the excuse that globalization is causing downward pressure on VFX wages anymore – Thanks!

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