Social Media, Theme Parks and Kung Fu Panda Led China Growth

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CHINA-LIFESTYLE

A man sings karaoke in a park in Shanghai. China is increasingly relying on consumption, services and high-technology sectors to help fuel growth as traditional manufacturing and heavy industries face a sharp slowdown.

Photographer: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images
  • Cultural industry companies' revenue up 8.6 percent on year
  • New economic drivers are shrugging off the nation's slowdown

The new engines of China’s economy are humming as social media, movie theaters, karaoke bars and art galleries shrug off the nation’s slowdown, according to a new report from the nation’s statistics authority.

First-quarter revenue from cultural industry companies rose 8.6 percent in the from a year earlier to 1.67 trillion yuan ($258 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday. The report based on surveys of 47,000 companies is the first such quarterly tally and comes as the agency strives to improve coverage of the "new economy."

Revenue from "cultural information transmission services," which include Internet companies and some satellite and telecommunication providers, surged 27.8 percent from the first quarter of 2015. Firms in "cultural, leisure and entertainment services" including travel agencies, parks and karaoke bars, saw sales jump 25 percent.

China is increasingly relying on consumption, services and high-technology sectors to help fuel growth as traditional manufacturing and heavy industries face a sharp slowdown.

Cultural and art services such as performance centers and museums reported a 25 percent gain, while radio, television and film sales rose 24.2 percent. One illustration of the boom: "Kung Fu Panda 3" grossed about $150 million in the nation in February.

A separate report from the China International Cartoon & Animation Festival in Hangzhou showed box office for domestic animated films soared 78.6 percent last year to more than 2 billion yuan, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.

The NBS report showed the fastest growth for cultural revenue was in the country’s central region, with a 12.7 percent increase. The eastern region, including megacities Beijing and Shanghai, accounted for the majority of sales, which rose 7.9 percent. The northeast region, hit hard by the slump in heavy industries, saw a 5 percent drop.

— With assistance by Xiaoqing Pi

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