China's Crackdown on Entertainment Industry Has Outsiders Rethinking Market

China's Crackdown on Entertainment Industry Has Outsiders Rethinking Market

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As Beijing cracks down on its entertainment industry, from storied stars to their fan clubs, some non-Chinese filmmakers are scaling back projects they hoped would attract audiences in what has been a lucrative market.To get more latest entertainment news, you can visit shine news official website.

In February 2020, Chinese authorities released "Detailed Rules for Reviewing Internet Variety Program Content." Addressing TV and internet program makers, the guidelines say they "should not inappropriately use stars from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan or foreign countries."

Some Chinese celebrities interpreted the rules to mean they had to relinquish dual citizenships and demonstrate their loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party if they wanted to continue performing in China. Actor and singer Nicholas Tse, who moved from Hong Kong to Vancouver, British Columbia, as a child, said last week in an interview on state-controlled China Central Television (CCTV) that he was renouncing his Canadian citizenship. Other celebrities in the Chinese market who hold dual citizenships are reportedly considering following his lead.

For others in the entertainment business, the guidelines have prompted a decoupling with China, even as the film industry has been accused of pandering to the country that was the world's largest movie market in 2020, and China eyes the global film market.
Adam Sandler, an American actor, screenwriter and producer, changed the setting of his forthcoming Netflix comedy "Hustle" from China to Spain because, as he said last month on "The Dan Patrick Show," "Netflix is not in China."

A description of "Hustle" can be found on the entertainment industry website IMDB: "A washed-up basketball scout discovers a phenomenal street ball player while in China and sees the prospect as his opportunity to get back into the NBA." IMDB has yet to identify the film's shooting location.The movie is part of a four-film deal with Sandler that Netflix announced in January. Neither Netflix nor Sandler responded to VOA Mandarin's request for comment.

Clayton Dube, director of the University of Southern California's U.S.-China Institute, told VOA in an email, "Since Netflix is in Spain and other European or Spanish-speaking markets, it asked Sandler to change the setting of his film hoping that it might be able to use that to spark potential subscriber interest."

Like many American entertainment companies, Netflix didn't crack the Chinese market. In 2017, Netflix signed a content licensing agreement with iQiyi, a Chinese streaming platform, for a subset of Netflix's original series. Two years later, the partnership fell apart.In an interview with CNBC last September, Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings said the streaming company has been focusing on growth opportunities in the rest of the world but not in China. A year earlier, Hastings said the company had been spending more money on acquiring rights to Mandarin-language content and producing its own original works in Mandarin to appeal to Mandarin speakers outside China.

"Netflix tried for years to enter the Chinese market, but it understands now that China's government is not going to permit foreign entertainment platforms to compete with those it controls. Further, it has tightened rules governing foreign content on Chinese platforms," Dube said.

Aynne Kokas, assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, told VOA Mandarin in a phone interview that celebrities in the U.S. and China are facing different types of pressure under the crackdown.

"I think that from a financial standpoint, U.S. firms are definitely examining their exposure in China and considering how much they invest and how much they depend on the Chinese market," she said. "But there isn't a requirement from the U.S. government — or even a tacit requirement from the U.S. government — that asks them to stop operating in China in the entertainment section."