Shanghai Unveils Tax Breaks, Funding to Boost City's Movie Business

AP

The measures include a 15 percent tax rate for film companies based in Shanghai, as well as incentives to support shooting and postproduction in Shanghai

China's financial capital Shanghai has unveiled a series of measures to boost the movie business in the city, including 200 million yuan ($32.75 million) to promote film development.

State backing is crucial to the film business in China, as the government- or state-owned companies control distribution and censorship, and no movie gets shown in China, including Hollywood films, without the government's say-so.

Nine government departments collaborated to produce a document this week, under a working group called the Shanghai Film Working Conference, aimed at giving the industry in China's biggest city a lift.

The measures include a 15 percent tax rate for film companies based in Shanghai, as well as incentives to support shooting and postproduction in Shanghai.

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Shanghai has always been strong in the film business, but recent years have seen a shift in activity to the capital Beijing, with Shanghai Media Group the biggest entertainment company left in the city.

The focus of the new government push will be to encourage movies "that promote socialist core values," a message very much in line with recent government statements on culture generally, and the film industry in particular.

It will include assistance for film fund raising, subsidies for local film companies and theater construction.

There will also be subsidies for training, and the salaries of foreign film advisers and experts may also become tax deductible.

The working group also wants to establish a company that will make it easy for filmmakers wanting to shoot in Shanghai.

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The three types of films that will be supported include "Chinese films reflecting socialist core values, films including traditional culture, patriotism and the spirit of the age and films with higher thinking, artistic standards and market value," according to the document.

The government departments involved included propaganda, culture, broadcasting, the development and reform committee, the education department, the finance department and the tax bureau.

Also there will be support for films aimed at the overseas market, and for movies seeking to take part in film festivals.

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