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Chinese animation festival sees record transactions

HANGZHOU, May 3 (Xinhua) -- China's biggest animation event concluded on Monday with a record 15.1 billion yuan (2.3 bln U.S. dollars) in contracts and sales, the organizing committee said.

The 12th China International Cartoon and Animation Festival, held in the eastern city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, is a major barometer for China's cartoon and animation industry.

The figure, which includes 12.9 bln yuan in contracts and 2.2 bln yuan in consumption at the fair, surpassed last year's 14.8 bln yuan despite a campaign to cut overcapacity in the animation industry.

China produced 134,000 minutes of TV animation in 2015, which was about half the volume produced in 2011, as the government reduced its presence in the market, officials said.

The Chinese government began subsidizing domestic animation producers and offered other support policies to boost the industry in 2004, but the ensuing rapid growth drew complaints about low quality and market bubbles.

The government of Hangzhou, for instance, has shifted from direct investment to nurturing market-based finance for the industry, said Dong Yue, secretary-general of the festival's executive committee. Hangzhou is a major base for cartoon production in China.

"There has been a transition from government dominance to government guidance, and the focus now is on both quality and quantity," Dong said, adding that though the number of animation companies in Hangzhou dropped from 315 in 2012 to about 220 in 2015, their output value surged from 4.3 bln yuan to 6.2 bln yuan.

In the movie sector, box office revenue of domestic animated films surged 78.6 percent to reach more than 2 bln yuan last year, gradually catching up with the 2.3 bln yuan pulled in by imported films, according to a report released at the festival.

The six-day event was attended by 1.38 million people, including more than 1,500 companies and institutions from China and abroad, and displayed 320 animation products.

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