How Globalisation Is Shaping Up The Chinese Culture Media Essay

It is a term coined by critical theorists Theodor Adorno (1903-69) and Max Horkheimer (1895-1973). So-called “cultural industries” or “creative industries” have become very popular recently with China’s economic planners and business people. These people, in constant search for new areas with growth potential and business commercial opportunities, I believe they have spotted a bonanza after seeing market victories by companies such as Shanda, the Nasdaq-listed computer game developer, and Hunan Satellite TV, which produced quite a few commercially successful programmes like Super Girls, designed after American Idol. Cultural industries have already been put into the local governments. Chinese cultural industry maintains growth by government supported loans. Chen Yuxin, Li Huizi BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhua). A list of 15 cultural enterprises has been submitted to the Export and Import Bank of China via the Ministry of Culture for a huge amount of bank loans to support development of China’s cultural industry. The State Council of china to, import and export projects, will grant loans of at least 20 billion Yuan. The cultural industries have become a fresh driving force of China’s economic growth. The gross output value of Chinese cultural industries including the press, movie, broadcast, journalism, advertising, tourism, show business, Internet communication and relevant services hit 1.2 trillion yuan (about 150 billion US dollars) in 2004.( Dominic Power and Alien J. Scott,2004).

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Ever since the publication of Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s essay on culture industries in the mid 1940s, there has been a lively debate about the production, distribution, and consumption of cultural products. Cultural industries worldwide have adapted to the new digital technologies and to the arrival of national, regional and international regulatory policies. These factors have radically altered the context in which cultural goods, services, and investments flow between countries and consequently, these industries have undergone a process of Globalisation and progressive concentration, resulting in the formation of a few big corporations. These industries also provide an increasingly important avenue for employment creation. The growing significance of the cultural industries within the economy and to employment is becoming apparent. Moreover, in certain countries, cultural industries may also be referred to as “creative industries” or “future-oriented industries. In all cases, the conception includes printing, publishing and multimedia, audiovisual, phonographic and cinematographic productions as well as crafts and design. However, in some countries, this concept also embraces architecture, visual and performing arts, sports, manufacturing of musical instruments, advertising and cultural tourism. By all means, we are talking about industries that add value to contents, generate value for individuals, societies and wealth, nurture creativity and innovation in production and commercialisation processes. They are also central in promoting and maintaining cultural diversity.

Creative works, embedded in books, records, films, multimedia, crafts and fashion design products, nowadays most popular gateways to enjoy cultural and artistic expressions and are conveyed worldwide disseminated by cultural industries. To a large extent, reciprocal images and stereotypes of cultures and civilizations are being constructed through global cultural industries. World citizens need opportunities to develop new content, products reflecting their own concerns, lifestyles and interests, as well as the means to ensure that these cultural goods and services can compete in domestic, regional and global markets.


Globalization is often seen by its proponents as facilitating a new idealism of Economic openness, political transparency, and global culture. Globalization provides an opportunity for the advancement of common human standards and equality as norms and rules are channelled throughout the world. This Global proximity is thought to foster cooperation and to increase security. Alternatively, globalization is often seen as a tool for large hegemonic states to exercise economic primacy with little regard for human rights, labour standards, or the environment. But Globalisation has shaped up the Chinese industry well. The global television system has dramatically changed during the past two decades. The number of television sets and the number of TV channels has rapidly increased as television industries have been privatized and commercialized. New broadcasting systems such as cable and satellite broadcasting industries have also become part of everyday life around the world. The transformation of the global television industry system can be understood within the larger context of global political-economic shifts and accompanying technological development. Specifically, I explore the changing structure of the Chinese broadcasting industry by examining consolidation. That is, I analyze foreign and domestic investment activities of the TV industry. I also discuss the role of national governments and domestic communication industries in the transformation of the broadcasting system.

The Global Alliance for Cultural diversity: Making Globalization and work for culture.

At the time we drafted the universal declaration on Cultural Diversity, we realised that those aspects relating cultural goods and services conveyed by cultural industries could only attract real interest among member states that already had a minimum of cultural industry infrastructure and Were in a position to design and finance appropriate cultural policies. It therefore appeared necessary to advance, in parallel, operational action to develop and strengthen cultural industries (Publishing, music, cinema and audiovisual, multimedia, crafts and Fashion design) in developing countries. We were also fully aware that piracy was eroding the sound development of legally established local industries in many countries and was about to become a major enemy of cultural diversity at the global scale. International instruments on cultural diversity and trade agreements will have little value for developing countries if there are no endogenous goods or Services to be consumed domestically or to be exported.

Hybridization and global culture:

Globalization has been seen as a process, but also a project; a reality, but also a belief (Mattelart, 2002). There is continuing debate over its onset, definition and end result. Many believe that a global culture will emerge with the rise of globalization. Yet opinions are divided over what the nature of this culture will be, whether it will be a single homogeneous system that is characterized by convergence and the presence of the ‘universal’ in the Particular (Wallerstein, 1990) or it will be an ensemble of ‘particulars’ that features long distance interconnectedness (Hannerz, 1996). With The rise of post colonialism, the concept of hybridity has become a new facet of the debate about global culture in the social sciences. (Bhabha, 1994).

As cable and satellite television mushroomed in the 1990s, the demand for Films and television programs grew twentyfold and more in China. This demand has led to the localization of global products and the globalization of local products on an unprecedented scale. This phenomenon allows producers to borrow ideas to enlighten an established story model or to make content adjustments to cater to the needs of a different audience.

In 2001, a Chinese language martial arts film became the then highest grossing foreign language film ever made (Lahr, 2003: 72) in the history of Hollywood film, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, has almost every ingredient needed to make it ‘authentically’ Chinese. Adapted from a novel Published in China in the early 1930s, it features romantic martial arts story that is set in ancient China. The ‘Cheesiness’ of the film is also Characterized by dazzling sword fights, period costumes, an iconic Chinese Setting and an all Chinese cast who speak Mandarin throughout the film. However, one aspect of the film production sets it apart from other Chinese Martial arts films; it was made with an eye on the market beyond Greater China, was financed through international production, bonds and bank loans and was distributed by a transnational distributor. Despite the attacks that the film has received from critics, its market success in repackaging an ethnic Story for a global audience, manifests two closely linked characteristics of Cultural production today; namely, the indispensable role of the capitalist, mechanism in financing, marketing and distribution and the emergence of Cultural fusion and hybridization as a prevailing strategy for transnational content design. It is also one of Disney’s most profitable films. ‘Crouching Tiger’ was originally targeted at art theatres outside of the Greater China region, but with a box office total of US$213,200,000 and international awards, including the ‘Oscar’ for Best Foreign Language Film. It became the most successful ‘Non-American film’ made. Wang, D.L. (1985).

Understanding local reception of globalized cultural products in the context of the International cultural economy:

The populist oriented Hollywood blockbuster movies that tend to target the lowest common denominator are often accused by Chinese intellectuals of being culturally debilitating. Yet China’s nationwide debate revolving around two technocratic, spectacle driven domestic blockbusters by its renowned film director Zhang Yimou, Hero (2002) and House of Flying Daggers (2004). Their excessive marketing have demonstrated Hollywood’s broader and more systemic impact on China’s film style, marketing practice and media culture, which are increasingly in line with the unified global standard set by Hollywood and marked by relentless commercialism. By studying the two movies, ‘reception in China’, describes how a national culture receives globalized versions of its own traditions, the role of Hollywood, and the implications for international cultural exchange and national identity in the context of the international cultural economy. (Bezlova, A, 2003)

Exploring the Meanings of Globalization in Beijing:

A number of people who view globalization from a Universalist perspective criticize the growing erosion of traditional values aided by rapid development of information technology and transnational corporations (Barber 1992; Parker 2005). At its extreme, proponents of this school appear to suggest that globalization is another form of cultural imperialism. ‘Think globally, act locally’ is the business motto of Viacom Inc, one of the largest global entertainment corporations in the world. Through the case study of Viacom’s MTV Channel in China, examines how transnational media corporations have localized in China, and the implications of the globalization/localization process. Viacom may well be the first American global media enterprise to significantly penetrate the China market and has drawn the attention of the Chinese public and officials alike. In 1999 Viacom spent $37.3 billion acquiring CBS, the network on which Jiang Zimen agreed to be interviewed by Mick Wallace on the programme ’60 Minutes’. This created perhaps the deepest impression of Viacom in Chinese minds. With pre-eminent positions in broadcast and cable television, radio, outdoor advertising and online (, Viacom covers creation, promotion, and distribution of entertainment, news, sports, music and comedy of all these businesses. MTV (Music Television) is the world’s most widely distributed television network, reaching more than 340 million households in 140 countries via 31 localized TV channels and 17 web sites. Since its establishment in 1981, through its ground-breaking visual expression of popular music, MTV has become a global youth phenomenon. Viacom first entered China through its entertainment arm MTV Asia 3, which covers three regional channels, MTV Mandarin, MTV Southeast Asia and MTV India, and reaches over 124 million households in 21 territories. The Chinese-language MTV Mandarin was inaugurated in 1995 along with its precursor, Channel V of Murdoch’s News Corporation, one of only two legal foreign owned music channels in China.

In the late 1990s, while Murdoch had already found the key to opening China’s door by satellite broadcasting with both legal and illegal reception and other cable relay services, MTV seized the opportunity to extend its arm into the region (Xu, 2002). Initially MTV China was available only in expensive hotels and areas inhabited by foreigners. Like Viacom’s localization strategies in other countries, MTV renounced campaigning against the Chinese government for acceptance in China. With the experience of creating animated Korean characters strongly laden with traditional cultural elements in Korea, they repeated the experiment in China and thrived on four locally produced television programmes, the main 60-minute MTV programme MTV Global Village (Tian Lai Cun), MTV Star Profile (Mingxing Dangan) featuring biographies of artists in movies, MTV Chart of Glory (Guangrong Bang), a synopsis of music charts across the globe, and MTV Learning English (Xue yingyu) which teaches ‘cool’ English. This programming serves up a playlist consisting of 70 percent Chinese music videos with the balance made up of international videos for viewers in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It also cooperated with China’s state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) to produce the CCTV-MTV Music Awards in Beijing and later with Shanghai Media Group (SMG) to create 72 Global Media and Communication of Style Awards in Shanghai. Coupled with the localization strategy of ‘local people, local programme’, MTV sell their made-in-China syndicated programmes to stations in different Chinese cities, inserting advertising between the programme slots, and have thus gradually established their profitable business Weber, Ian (2003).

The time race and time signification in the reform era:

A study of changing movie theatres in urban China, this case of changing Chinese movie theatres serves as a miniature of the discursive process of how tension and ideological contention in cultural Production is revealed in China’s reform era. For a long time, movie

Theatres in China operated as a state-subsidized institution. Since 1979, China has been attempting to establish a market economy under the control of the Communist Party. The economic reform has brought various tensions to the fore, particularly those between state control and individual choice, the public and private spheres, material and cultural production, and ideological domination and resistance. Through the analysis of movie theatres, we intend to shed some light on the working of these tensions and on the main currents of cultural dynamics in China’s reform era. Time also reveals itself as an irreversible arrow. The past exists in archives and our recollections, the present lives in direct experiences, and the future is in our imagination or inspiration. Nevertheless, the three time categories may not be so neatly arranged in a sequential order. The past is often situationally

Constructed in the specific contexts of present social practices and is used as a symbolic resource (Appadurai, 1981). Social actors are able to follow and to reshape the script that explicates the past in the cultural sphere, Zhou, Tai (1993). The Deepening development of city movie theatres are renovation in the Nation’ (Quanguo chengshi yingyuan gaizao xiang zongshen fazhan), in China Film Yearbook 1993, p. 224. Beijing: China Cinema Press (Chinese).

A developing market in News: Xinhua News Agency and Chinese newspapers

Nothing can give us a better understanding of the earliest news agencies than tracing the history of their links with newspapers. It is also true that, without consideration of news agencies, the history of the capitalist newspaper industry cannot be fully understood. The early history of traditional news agencies is largely tied up with the development of the Newspaper industry (Thussu, 2000: 20; Gorman and McLean, 2003: 6-7).

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In the process of globalization, particularly in the contemporary digital environment based on the internet, news agencies, both old and new, have been challenged by rapid technological and economic changes. In this new environment, they have to compete not only with their counterparts but also with diversified media and non-media news providers. Intensifying Competition as a result of marketing, commercialization and digitalization, on the one hand it is forcing traditional news wholesalers to change their business model in order to survive; on the other hand, it is providing more opportunities for new entrants along with the fragmentation of news and information markets. The acceleration of marketing of the Chinese economy as a whole, and of the media industry in particular, has forced the national news agency to adopt more market principles in order to survive intensifying competition in both domestic and international markets Chu, L.L. (1994).

Television and New Media:

Greater China, understood as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China, has been divided along political and economic lines for most of the past century. Nevertheless, just in the past decade, after globalisation television has emerged as a medium able to cross the boundaries within and around Greater China, to create new patterns of exchange within the Chinese speaking world, and to engage in complex ways with global forces of culture and commerce. This process has been driven by the liberation of National television industries of China and Taiwan since the 1980s. The establishment of commercial cable and satellite networks, both local and multinational, and the development of the technologies, reproduction of video cassettes and video compact discs have created a unified market for Mandarin-language television programming. The particular characteristics of the regions, with strong commercial production skills in Hong Kong and to a lesser extent Taiwan, and the colossal growth of the mainland Chinese commercial television industry have shaped the kinds of programming being produced and the way advertising has approached the market. One of the ways television expresses difference within Greater China is with the Chinese conceptualization of modernity. As argued by Duara, Fitzgerald, and others, the ideology of modernity in China is a sharply relational one, particularly preoccupied with China’s relationship to other Sinclair. The Chinese ideology of modernity is concerned, on one hand, with the national need for China’s technological modernization and, on the other, with the value of the personal practice of modern behaviours and lifestyles (Anagnost 1997, 75).

Star TV was forced to accommodate Chinese officials in an attempt to gain carriage on government cable systems. Moreover, Rupert Murdoch’s dreams of exploiting a pan Asian market were dashed by the cultural diversity of audiences and the logistical demands of competing with local and national television broadcasters. Likewise, the complexity of product distribution networks on the ground undermined the possibility of expansive advertising strategies in the sky. And, finally, the promotional chores associated with building services inside China were worsened by restrictions on newspaper and magazine advertising.

The Rise of the Anchor in Chinese Television:

The television industry perceived influence of TV ‘anchors’ (presenters) on Chinese television in the past 10 years or so, including the approaches and various institutional guidelines and disciplinary measures imposed by government departments and media institutions. Through the case of China Central Television (CCTV) and based on a theoretical framework that draws on the discourse of ‘news culture’, the study explores the different types of ‘anchored’ media presented in the genres of news and current affairs, and tracks the rise of four of China’s most popular anchors in these genres. Using a combination of discourse, visual and policy analysis, the popularity of high-profile anchor people in China since the mid 1990s has created a new type of influence, one not without its limitations but which may also contribute to a ‘public sphere’ with Chinese characteristics.

Chinese pop culture and music:

Popular music and the culture industries, the intersection between gender politics in Chinese societies and the musical success of Faye Wong, the reigning diva of the Hong Kong based pop music industry. Unlike earlier female singing stars, Faye’s music and public personal explicitly resist standard market practices and conventional representations of femininity. Yet, paradoxically, these unconventional qualities have contributed to her sustained success over the past 10 years. Thus, Faye’s star personal operates both as a marketable commodity and as a site of significant cultural work in the region of gender politics. Using Bourdieu’s distinction between economic and cultural capital, shows how music companies enriched cultural capital as part of their promotional efforts and how in turn exploited that very capital in unconventional ways. Chow, Chien-I (1998)

The Globalization of Chinese Film and TV:

Michael Curtin is among many Western scholars and critics to focus their attention on the Chinese film and TV industry. His book presents a vivid picture of the development and globalization of the Chinese film and TV industry in the Greater China area from the 1950s till now. Apart from the unparalleled abundance of in depth interviews with key players, one of the greatest values of Curtin’s book is its intensity. While drawing a historic picture of the development of Chinese film and television, it raises many profound questions about the changing society of Greater China. Among these questions, two of them should attract wide attention from scholars who are interested in researching Chinese media. First, is the long-term tradition of paternalism, and second a conspicuous lack of creativity in the current film and television work. Summarized in brief, these two questions could be visualized as how the tradition of paternalism influences the capital operation of Chinese media enterprises and what are the social factors which gave rise to the lack of creativity in the Chinese media today.

The Internet and the rise of a transnational Chinese cultural sphere, its basic elements are two kinds of online spaces, non-interactive spaces in the form of online magazines and newsletters, and interactive spaces such as chat rooms, newsgroups and bulletin board systems Arnold, Wayne (1998).

The realities of virtual play: Video games and their industry in China:

‘Video game’ is an umbrella term for arcade games; console Games, single PC games and online games. Video games have 20year history in China and continually impress us with their impressive statistics. With Over 20 million online gamers and the largest game population in the world, China was predicted to be the largest online game market in 2007 (Game Trust and Diffusion Group, 2004). In 2005 alone, video games generated 6.7 Billion RMB (US $0.8 billion) of revenue in China (Pop soft, 2006). Playing video games has displaced TV watching as a major leisure activity among Chinese youth. A recent survey showed that 25.4 percent of urban youth reported video games as the medium they most enjoyed, followed by Television (18.8%). Average playtime reached 0.98 hours a day (Yang et al. 2004). As video gaming soared in popularity, it became recognized as an official Sport by the state. Aside from being a huge economic and entertainment phenomenon, video games have complex social and cultural impacts. Researchers suggest video Games are becoming a social location in which new social relations, community Networks and new life-styles are formed (Humphrey, 2005; Wang, 2003). Furthermore, as a new and popular medium, video games have significant ideological and cultural influences on young people. They also function as a rich art form and a new venue for critical expression (Jenkins and Squire, 2002). Despite their cultural and social significance, rapid growth and widespread appeal in China, video games unlike traditional media have received a huge attention from international communication researchers.

Globalizing Evolution: Female Choice, Nationality, and Perception of Sexual Beauty in China:

In the Confucian discourse on womanhood, the essential attributes of a good woman in addition to virtue, words, and work included appearance. While traditional self adornment had various aspects, modern thinkers and activists examining the relationship between the female condition and China’s self-strengthening efforts focused mainly on foot binding. Reformers such as Liang Qichao and Kang Youwei and revolutionaries such as Qiu Jin believed that their lack of education and bound feet made the female population ignorant and weak and were conditions that must be removed (Edwards, 2000: 126-27). But Globalisation has brought them back with reform. Fashion appearance has outreached from China to other parts of the world including the fashion products. The Chinese women are more beauty conscious and they are open up for any fashion industry. An evolutionary perspective on physical attractiveness suggests that individuals find those characteristics associated with reproductive success attractive. We take this evolutionary perspective global to know how Chinese men and women rate the sexual beauty of East Asian compared with Caucasian models. Chinese men and women from hotshot, a northern city, and Chengdu, a southern city, to rank photos of both Chinese and Caucasian male and female models obtained from Chinese magazines. Results revealed that Chinese women ranked Caucasian male and female models as more attractive. Chinese men, however, did not differentially rank East Asian and Caucasian women, though they did rank Caucasian men as being more attractive. The process of globalization can still be linked to potentially adaptive preferences for physical attractiveness, and call for more research. (Tang & Parish, 2000).

Administrative of Chinese reform in the new millennium:

The 1998 Reform was a progressive reform characterized by its transitional features. Though this reform has achieved much in separating the government from enterprises and in altering the functions of the government, a well functioning administrative system suitable for a market economy and responsive to globalization is an ongoing process. China practises a party state structure, where there exists no institutionalized mechanism to harness the power of the government in relation to the economy. Besides the deepening of market-oriented reform, China’s increasing involvement in the global economy, symbolized by its entry to the WTO in November 2001, has infused a new impulse. (You Ji, 1998).

Globalization and China’s increasing integration with the world economy have also provided much of the justification for the relentless administrative reforms in China. Globalization has made the competitiveness of a nation the primary concern of government, as is the case for China. The process of economic integration with the world economy has put great pressure on the functioning of the Chinese government and its responsiveness. The heavy intervention of government in the Chinese economy in the recent past has proven no longer suitable for a market economy and free trade. In order to attract and retain foreign investment within its territory and to secure a high level of economic growth, the Chinese government has been under continuous pressure from inside as well as outside to adopt policies consistent with the global trend and practice. For this purpose, the role of government and its functions have been rethought over and over, and readjusted.


China’s rising profile in world economic affairs is beyond dispute after globalisation. The economy explores several ways to think about China’s experience as a latecomer, offering a preliminary assessment of its development and the evolving nature of its foreign economic relations. In particular, I reject the view that China is emerging as the hub of a regional economic order in East Asia that is increasingly cohesive and independent of other regions of the world. The Chinese economic activity within global commodity chains form cross border integration that affects interdependence among Nation-states at multi-continental distances. (Breslin. S, 2005). A conspicuous trope within contemporary Chinese society, nostalgia is a product of two recent transformations. First, drastic changes in economic and political life have led to anxiety and uncertainty, together with excitement and hope. Second, economic rationalization of the cultural industries has resulted in extensive repackaging and repurposing of existing content in order to reduce cost and secure customer acceptance. The culture industry has become the driving force of Chinese economy now. They find expression in TV drama, pop music, theme restaurants, mass circulation magazines and film. Images of past glory and aspirations confront each other as they define the ‘Chinese route’ that has led to the present, and presumably will lead into the future. Visions of the good life within these historical frames of nostalgia are highly contentious. But their appropriation illustrates the potential for creativity, not only in the business strategies of commercial culture, but also in the social imagination and design for a new China. (Wu, Jing (2002).



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