Africa is turning out to be an unlikely market for Chinese television producers, according to one production executive. Hou Hong Liang, chairman of Chinese television production company Daylight Entertainment revealed his amazement at meeting African fans of Chinese television stars in a recent trip to the continent, even as he bemoaned the lower profitability of the region.

“We had African fans coming to the airport to meet the cast for one of our recent productions. I was amazed to see we had fans in Africa. I thought they wouldn’t understand our culture, but they did. I don’t think Africa is a true market yet, our IP is not valued as much. We have to nurture the audience, so we sell our IP at a lower price to African broadcasters.”

Speaking at a dialogue on Quality TV content at Hong Kong’s FilMart on Monday, Hou revealed that he had had similar experiences with audiences from territories as varied as Mongolia and Eastern Russia. “We have many television programs being distributed throughout those territories. The audiences there have basically accepted Chinese cultural products entirely.” said Hou.

Closer to home, Hou was dismissive about the threat to Chinese television production from short form video producers on platforms like TikTok.

“I think we have a huge amount of unnecessary content attracting attention. But is it good content, or is it content that is used to manipulate the audience for profit? We have games, movies, reels. Our entertainment life is filled. But the level of enjoyment from swiping through reels is very different from long form content. The attraction of television shows can never be achieved by reels.”