Chinese Media Capitals are slowly trending on world audiences. From the the Kung-Fu age of Hong Kong to the serial dramas of Shanghai, Chinese television and film has had a strong impact on Western Audiences. And we love it!
Hong Kong, as described by Curtin, is “positioned at the intersection of complex patterns of economic, social and cultural flows”. It is a city that has been immigrated by waves of mainland Chinese, yet heavily influenced by Western culture – especially during the British occupation until 1997. Broadcast Television only became available in Hong Kong in 1967 and at this time early Hong Kong films were not well-received as they “were not expressive of life within the colony” due to Western influence.
However, television was immensely popular following its emergence in Hong Kong. Curtain credits this to local news programming which was reporting on the independent commission to investigate business and government corruption. The news reflected the issues of the period and as such provided a means of discussion former mediums of media had not. Wilkins states that “Hong Kong residents were discouraged from identifying too closely with the nations Britain or China during colonial rule, instead an indigenous culture… was highlighted”.
This was further demonstrated when The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
A “serial narrative about the fortunes of a local family that is unexpectedly reunited with a long-lost son from the mainland”. This character was unable to adapt to Hong Kong society and depicted the distinctions between the values and attitudes on either side of the then Chinese/British border. This TV series was viewed by more than 90% of TV Households and provided discussion on issues of identity, migration and popular values.
So to put that into perspective, that’s twice as popular as the Seinfeld final, three times as much as Friends, 30 times as much as Game of Thrones and over 112 times as much as Gossip Girl.
At the moment, the mainland city Nanjing airs the one of the most popular shows called “Fei Cheng Wu Rao” or “If You Are the One”
The show was based on an English show called Take Me Out. In China, as depicted int he clip above, the show has over 50 million viewers per episode. One of the creators, Wang Peijie claims that “through this show, you can tell what China is thinking about and chasing after”. The show is massively popular internationally as well, including in Australia where it airs at 8:30 every Friday night on SBS 2.
This show is an example of how Chinese media capitals are beginning to have a trending effect on Australian audiences. Already within Australia the show has a relatively large following. However is this the start of an emerging media capital to trend Australia’s media consumption?
Another example is how the Chinese film industry has impacted internationally, and surprisingly Western audiences. Gary Needham states that Asian “films are shown in British multiplex cinemas and not in arthouse cinemas”. So here we can see that international films are slowly breaking the scene, finding larger audiences and cult followings. The movie The Departed directed by Martin Scorsese for which he won an Oscar is actually a remake of the Chinese film series Mou Gaan Dou or Infernal Affairs. Here’s a video to show you the comparison.
The impact of Chinas media capitals is having a large effect on media consumption worldwide. And as Needham states, “the way in which these films are promoted for theatrical consumption and their continued popularity on DVD does demonstrate that there is a loving audience for popular Asian film” and TV.
Needham, G; “The Post-Colonial Hong Kong Cinema”; Asian Cinema: A Readers Guide; Edinburgh University Press; UK: Edinburgh; 2006
Wong, E; “China TV grows racy, and gets a Chaperon”; The New York Times; http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/world/asia/censors-pull-reins-as-china-tv-chasing-profit-gets-racy.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0; Published: 31/12/2011; Accessed: 25/08/2013
Curtain, M; “Playing to the World’s Biggest Audience: The Globalization of Chinese Film and TV“; University of California Press; USA; 2007
Wilkins, K.G.; “Hong Kong Television: Same as it Ever Was?”; TV China: A Reader of New Media; Indiana University Press; Bloomington, IN, USA; 2009