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China Confirms Unchanged Import Quota System

LONDON – The Chinese government this week made it clear that it has no current plans to change the regime that controls the import of foreign film into China.

Official news agency Xinhua quoted an unidentified official from the State General Administration of Press that the 2014 quota will be maintained in-line with an agreement signed in 2012.

That deal expanded the number of films which can be imported and given revenue sharing distribution in China from 20 to 34 with the addition of 14 “enhanced” format films, mostly meaning IMAX or animation movies.

At the weekend a report in a Hollywood trade paper said that China’s Film Bureau is mulling change and that if approved by the People’s Congress, could be enacted within three months.

Multiple well-informed sources told Variety that they knew nothing of such a change, and that normally such a move would be well signaled. The Motion Picture Association, which was one of the parties to the 2012 MOU, went as far as to issue a statement denying any knowledge of change.

China is the world’s second largest theatrical market, with gross revenue of $3.3 billion last year and continues to exhibit strong annual growth. But in many of the last few years Hollywood movies have dominated the charts, a factor which has caused Chinese authorities to maintain a cautious stance over opening up of the import, distribution and classification regimes.

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