China toon production up 18%

Local producers told to improve quality

China’s attempts to grow the domestic animation biz appear to be paying off.

Last year the courty produced 435 toons, some 261,224 minutes of material, up 18% on the previous year, according to official data.

China has been battling to push homegrown toons over foreign imports, especially manga and U.S. rugrat fare such as “SpongeBob SquarePants,” which is particularly popular.

“The growing production and trade of Chinese-made animation has largely enriched TV programming at all levels and generally meets the needs of teenagers,” broadcasting watchdog, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said in a circular.

A report last July showed that China was the world’s biggest toon producer but it makes worthy and dull fare that children don’t go for, and has long struggled to compete against Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network offerings.

The government has responded with major subsidies and calls for better quality. SARFT said that 27% of animated content last year was made by national animation bases.

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