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January 13, 2012

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Arts, culture firms to get more help

SHANGHAI Vice Mayor Tu Guangshao told local political advisers yesterday that the city will invest more to boost the culture and creative industry, which has developed quickly in Shanghai in recent years.

Many arts and culture companies, mostly small-and medium-sized private firms, are facing hardships in Shanghai with the rise in labor costs and rents.

Lots of public art facilities report low usage and blame a lack of operating funds for their inability to hold high-quality performances.

More than 150,000 people now work in the industry, many of them expats.

"Expats joining the social insurance scheme has increased the burden on many creative firms," said Yuan Gang, a political adviser and owner of a culture firm.

Shanghai has built about 300 cultural and creative industry cluster parks. Some of the parks' rents are even higher than office buildings, Yuan said. The most expensive park is SVA park in downtown Xuhui District, whose daily rents exceeds US$2 per square meter, he said.

He called on the government to provide more assistance and preferential policies.

In response, Tu promised the city government will put more emphasis on the operation of art centers instead of mere construction. Shanghai plans to invest 1.18 billion yuan (US$186,873) into the culture industry this year, about the same as last year? according to a draft made by Shanghai Finance Bureau. The spending will be put into art creation and activities instead of into new buildings, Tu said.


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