16th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair kicks off online

Performers dance at the 15th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair, May 16, 2019. Photo by He Wuchang/People's Daily Online

The 16th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF) kicked off online on Nov. 16. The five-day event was for the first time presented on the internet through 5G, livestream and virtual reality (VR) technologies.

The 1st ICIF, which opened in 2004, had only one sub-venue and attracted over 700 exhibitors and 477,000 visitors, while last year, the event established 66 sub-venues which were joined by 2,312 global exhibitors and 7.8 million visitors. It has grown into the largest, highest-level, and most effective and influential expo in China’s cultural industry after 15 years of development.

Dafen village, known for its oil paintings, was the only sub-venue of the 1st ICIF. Its story about the ICIF is a miniature of how the event has been driving the development of the cultural industry.

The village, serving as a bridge between art and the market that translates talents into fortune, has benefited a lot from the sessions of the ICIF. According to incomplete figures, the village earned 80 million yuan ($12.2 million) by selling oil paintings in 2003, and the revenue soared to 140 million yuan after the first ICIF was held and 279 million yuan in 2005.

Today, the small village that covers only 0.4 square kilometer is home to over 1,200 galleries and shops, housing nearly 10,000 practitioners in the oil painting industry. Its output in 2018 hit 4.55 billion yuan, making it the largest production and trading base of oil paintings in China.

Over the past 15 years, the transaction volume of the ICIF rose from 35.69 billion yuan to nearly 250 billion yuan. This year, the event has collected 21,572 exhibits, and is joined by 3,243 enterprises and organizations, 931 more than those in the previous year.

The ICIF has also been promoting Chinese culture overseas and introducing foreign cultures to China. It has not only brought cultural products from the world to China, but also forcefully advanced the communication, dialogue and cooperation in the cultural industry among different countries and regions. Through the event, an acrobatics troupe from Zunyi, southwest China’s Guizhou province, has taken their shows to the globe, and Huangmei cross-stitch, a national-level intangible cultural heritage of China, has also been introduced to the world.

According to statistics, the export value at the 1st ICIF stood at zero, but the figure rose to over 18 billion yuan. A total of 3,012 foreigners joined the second ICIF, while last year the event received 22,167 visitors from overseas.

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