×

Hong Kong Film Industry Wins Greater Access to China Market

The Hong Kong film industry will be given greater access to the $9 billion mainland Chinese movie market following a relaxation of rules that had kept Hong Kong films and film makers on a separate footing.

The territory which returned to China in 1997 after 150 years of British colonial rule, saw its film industry flourish in the 1970s-1990s when China largely closed itself off from the world. Since 2003, the Hong Kong film industry has had privileged access to China as part of the wider Closer Economic Partnership Agreement. But there were still restrictions and requirements — such as one that said mainland Chinese performers must account for at least a third of the cast in co-productions.

The Hong Kong government announced on Tuesday that mainland authorities had agreed to five changes.

They include: the removal of a restriction on the number of Hong Kong people participating in mainland film productions; and the removal of a restriction on the percentage of artistes, and a requirement of mainland-related plots in mainland-Hong Kong co-productions.

Other measures include the waiving of fees for mainland-Hong Kong co-productions; allowing Hong Kong films and film practitioners to apply for nomination for awards in mainland film festivals; and allow Hong Kong film companies to apply for incentives for distributing and promoting outstanding mainland motion pictures, and mainland-Hong Kong co-productions in Hong Kong, Macau and overseas.

Despite the past restrictions, Hong Kong has participated significantly in the mainland film industry. Hit films including “Operation Red Sea,” the “Detective Dee” franchise, and “Monster Hunt,” all Hong Kong-China co-productions. Hong Kong-produced “P Storm” is currently top of the mainland Chinese box office.

The latest moves were presented by Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau as beneficial to both mainland and Hong Kong industries. “It would encourage Hong Kong film industry to play a more active role in production and promotion of Mainland films and co-productions, enhance the reputation and recognition of Hong Kong films in the Mainland and provide more opportunities in the Mainland for (the Hong Kong) film industry.”

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam warned against Hong Kong film makers using the moves to ditch mainland Chinese stories and morals. “Hong Kong is very proud of our freedom of expression, and we welcome movie makers to make the best use of that freedom of expression to do a diversity of movies. But if these movies have to be screened or made in another jurisdiction, then of course they have to follow the rules and regulations of that jurisdiction,” she said.

The Hong Kong film industry had lobbied for two years for the changes. The move was welcomed by Eric Tsang, executive chairman of the Association for the Betterment of Hong Kong’s Entertainment Industry in Mainland China. “The new measures will allow local industry practitioners to share the benefits of mainland industry’s success,” Tsang said in a statement.

“The five relaxation measures include removing the restriction on the number of Hong Kong talents participating in Mainland film productions. We definitely welcome this move, as it will give those from the local industry a better chance of tapping into the Mainland market,” said Albert Yeung, chairman of the Emperor Group. Yeung is expected to join a Hong Kong film industry delegation to meet with relevant authorities in Beijing on Wednesday.

In her recent policy address, Lam announced the injection of HK$1 billion into the largely depleted Film Development Fund. She said the move requires the development of the Hong Kong film industry in four broad directions: nurturing talent; enhancing local production; expanding markets; and building audiences. Measures to be launched include enhancing the First Feature Film Initiative and the Film Production Financing Scheme.

More Film

  • Knuckle City

    Jahmil X.T. Qubeka on Durban Opening-Night Film ‘Knuckle City’

    DURBAN–Dudu Nyakama is an aging boxer whose best fighting days are behind him. But for a man whose only glory has come in the ring, a big prize fight offers the one shot at saving his family, dragging him into the criminal underbelly of the gritty township he’s spent his whole life trying to escape. [...]

  • Venice Opener

    Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 'The Truth' to Open Venice Film Festival

    Palme d’Or-winning director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s hotly anticipated new film, “The Truth,” starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke, will open the 76th edition of the Venice Film Festival. “The Truth,” which marks the director’s first work set outside his native Japan, will screen on Aug. 28 in competition. Kore-eda won the Palme d’Or at [...]

  • it chapter two, comic con

    Comic-Con: 4500 Gallons of Fake Blood and Everything Else to Know About 'It Chapter Two''

    Comic-Con 2019 kicked off with a stacked presentation from the director and cast of “It Chapter Two” on Wednesday, inspiring a curious amount of joy at San Diego’s Spreckles Theater in spite of the abject terror offered up by the film. The closing chapter to 2017’s record-obliterating “It,” the highest grossing R-rated horror film of [...]

  • 'Between Me and My Mind' Review:

    Film Review: Trey Anastasio in 'Between Me and My Mind'

    Trey Anastasio doesn’t look like a rock star. With his thick rimless glasses and flop of sandy red hair, you might say he resembles John Sebastian, but really, he looks like a mashup of Mike White and Jon Cryer and the filmmaker Chris Smith. He’s an appealingly ordinary shaggy-geek dude, like some guy you might [...]

  • Photo taken July 18, 2019, from

    More Than 20 Feared Dead in Arson Attack on Japan's Kyoto Animation

    UPDATED: More than 20 people are feared to have died Thursday in an arson attack on the Kyoto Animation company in Japan, shocking a nation in which extreme violence is very rare. Emergency services in Kyoto City received a call about 10:35 a.m. local time Thursday reporting an explosion on the first floor of the [...]

  • sith trooper

    Sith Trooper Revealed From 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

    “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” revealed a new storm trooper uniform Wednesday at San Diego Comic Con as part of a special exhibit celebrating the evolution of the storm trooper design. Dubbed the Sith trooper, the new uniform sports all-red armor plates with a matching red and black blaster. Also decorating the armor is [...]

  • Dunkirk

    Harry Styles Is the Perfect Prince Eric; Why He'd Rock 'Little Mermaid' Role

    Could Harry Styles be the perfect Prince Eric? One day after the announcement that the One Direction star is “in early negotiations to play the iconic ‘Little Mermaid’ role,” the internet exploded with speculation as to how he would portray the object of Ariel’s affections. “I can see lots of reasons why Harry is perfect,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content