Hong Kong Film Economy Worth $2 Billion, But Could Do Better

The film and TV industries contributed some $2 billion to the economy of Hong Kong, according to an economic impact report.

That represented just 0.3% of Hong Kong’s gross domestic product, according to research by Oxford Economics.

The figure is significantly lower than in other Asian territories, such as Taiwan where it was recently measured at 0.4% and Thailand 0.65% (using 2011 data), or South Korea and New Zealand (0.7% in 2011). And it is surprising considering the legacy film and TV industries which continue to serve the Greater China’ region.

The low-ball figure was latched upon by producers groups to call for new legislation to improve Hong Kong’s copyright regime.

“We are facing a number of threats, including illegitimate online content and the so-called TV black boxes which offer online access to a wide array of unauthorized screen content. Our home entertainment revenues have plunged from HK$850 million (US$110 million) in 2002 to a meager HK$185 million (US$24.7 million) in 2014,” said Robert Lee, honorary treasurer of the Hong Kong Video Development Foundation. “While the industry is working hard to provide audiences with quality digital screen content, the early passage of the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 is necessary to help reduce online infringement, and provide us with a level playing field.”

The report, titled “Economic Contribution of the Film and Television Industries in Hong Kong,” shows the Hong Kong film and television industry supporting over 30,200 jobs and generating total tax revenues of US$157 million (HK$1.22 billion) in 2014.

“The recent boom in digital and 3D films has opened up a quality experience for audiences, and a healthy new revenue stream for the cinema sector, but a lot more can be done by the industry and the government to encourage film appreciation in cinemas. The government’s move to provide more cinema sites through land sale and planning is a step in the right direction – as more cinemas provide more jobs, bigger audiences, and stimulate more film production,” said Ivan Wong, MD of Lark International Multimedia and UA Cinema Circuit Ltd, in a prepared statement.

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