Caixin reports today on the troubles of the Chinese entertainment industry as production costs skyrocket even as low-quality programs flourish. One media executive in the report criticized what he called “fast-food productions” — TV series and films that pay exorbitant prices for a few overbooked actors to read off a formulaic script — for cutting corners and flooding the market with substandard products. One recent big-budget series called General and I (孤芳不自赏 gū fāng bù zì shǎng) apparently had such trouble getting studio time for its big-name actors that it hastily green-screened their performances together, leading 69 percent of users of the Chinese arts and culture website Douban to give it a one-star ranking.
The obsession with making money in entertainment, rather than producing quality content or a dedicated fan base, has led to another problem. According to industry insiders, up to 90 percent of TV audience rating numbers are fake, so broadcasting fees have become inflated to the point that studios now pay up to 9 million yuan ($1.3 million) to distribute a single TV episode.
HNA group continues overseas acquisition spree / Caixin
Conglomerate HNA Group, owner of businesses such as Hainan Airlines and GE Seaco, was undeterred by currency controls this past week as it planned a majority stake purchase in commodities giant Glencore for $775 million.
Why China’s got beef with U.S. beef / Bloomberg
“More than six months after China promised to end a ban on American beef imposed in 2003 after a case of mad-cow disease, U.S. producers still aren’t selling to Chinese consumers.”
U.S. shows China how the sausage is made / WSJ (paywall)
“Even as China scrutinizes overseas investments because of concerns about outflows, deals that modernize the agricultural industry will remain a priority for now.”
- Trump administration quietly starts review of China’s trade status / NPR
- Trump officials alarmed Chinese may bid for Westinghouse unit / Bloomberg
- Chinese finance is storing up trouble for the rest of the world / Financial Times (paywall)
- Chinese stocks are becoming a world-beating dividend play / Bloomberg
- Wanda’s $8 billion China studio offers unique Hollywood incentive / Hollywood Reporter
- Kenya’s $4 billion railway gains traction from Chinese policy ambitions / Financial Times (paywall)