BEIJING — A massive push by the Chinese government to boost the flagging domestic toon biz will translate into 80,000 minutes of animation this year, a sharp increase on last year’s 42,700 minutes.
China produced more than 50,000 minutes of cartoons between January and August, already outstripping last year’s total output, according to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.
It’s all part of government efforts to fight back against a wave of popular foreign imports.
A huge number of China’s 250 million children tune into “SpongeBob SquarePants” and Japanese manga rather than China’s worthy, but dull, cartoons.
Earlier this year, the government banned foreign toons in primetime to protect the local biz, and announced plans to generate 70,000 minutes of home-produced fare this year.
The government also has announced tax breaks and grants for toon-makers.
A two-year-old government quota requires that Chinese cartoons account for at least 60% of the total shown in primetime.
Other measures have included allowing private capital into the animation industry, which has led to the establishment of 15 national animation bases.
Since 2004, SARFT has approved three cartoon channels on Beijing, Shanghai and Hunan TV stations and more than 30 kids channels.
Animation schools have been established in four art and film academies to train more professional animators.