Foreign-funded firms court musicians, content creators and game developers
China's digital creative content sector is expected to see an extended boom in sustained demand from foreign-funded enterprises. Chinese talent is now deemed indispensable among the world's developer and content creator communities, industry experts said.
Despite mounting global economic uncertainties, Chinese companies engaged in the fields of software services and cultural creativity have beefed up their capabilities in content production and related operations, they said.
The digital creative content sector integrates modern information technologies with cultural and creative industries.
Unity Software, a US gaming software developer, recently announced it has joined hands with a group of Chinese tech companies to set up a new joint venture called Unity China. The entity will unlock new opportunities by partnering with local companies and increase research and development investment to better serve the needs of the Chinese creator community.
The local partners include Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, telecom operator China Mobile, game developers G-bits and miHoYo, smartphone maker Oppo, and ByteDance's short video platform Douyin.
In the short term, Unity China will build local customized versions of its core products for game developers, including a Chinese version of its flagship Unity Editor, the San Francisco-based firm said in a statement. The joint venture will also be the exclusive distributor of Unity's global products and services in China.
It said Chinese partners will support Unity's growth in a variety of ways, including helping Unity to enter new industries, increasing Unity's applications in gaming, and providing marketing support for the company's products and services.
In addition, Billboard, a music and entertainment magazine globally known for its music charts, has recently announced the launch of Billboard China. "We look forward to providing a platform for Chinese musicians to share their art and unique sound among a global audience," said Billboard President Mike Van.
The company said it will work closely with local industry partners in China to develop offerings geared toward Chinese music fans. In addition, the new edition will help bring global pop music to Chinese fans and expose Chinese artists and music to an international audience.
Long Haibo, a senior researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council, said China is witnessing positive change in several fields, including the digital sector, at the same time.
Efforts are on to shorten negative lists for foreign investment. Foreign investors are also paying more attention to China's digital creative sector, which is teeming with state-of-the-art technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence and the internet of things, and is on the fast track to development.
China's firm determination to continue its opening-up policy will also provide multinationals with great opportunities for further growth, he said.
The country will be of greater appeal to global technology companies, given its sizable market, favorable business environment and well-educated human resources, he said.
Foreign enterprises, he said, will better help China's digital creative companies to expand their overseas businesses through strategic partnerships.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, foreign direct investment inflows, in actual use, increased 17.4 percent year-on-year to 723.31 billion yuan ($107.3 billion) in the first six months of this year. Specifically, foreign investment in the high-tech services sector jumped 34.4 percent.
"China's cultural and creative industry, which mainly covers animation, gaming, film and music, has witnessed robust growth in recent years, buoyed by authorities' supportive policies, consumption upgrade and advances in cutting-edge digital technologies," said Zhang Yi, CEO and principal analyst at market consultancy iiMedia Research.
Creativity of Chinese software developers, he said, has been increasingly preferred by foreign investors.
For instance, a rising number of Chinese game companies have stepped up efforts to expand their global footprint, and mobile games developed by Chinese creative teams have become popular in overseas markets, Zhang said.
According to mobile app data analysis firm Sensor Tower, some 39 Chinese mobile game developers figured among the top 100 global game publishers in terms of revenue in July.
Hou Yang, chairman and CEO of Microsoft Greater China, said foreign companies view the country as one of the most innovative and dynamic markets across the globe, and a fertile ground for new technologies and new forms of business.