The commercial release of Bollywood film Lagaan was met with certain amount of opposition; however, few others have made its way to the Chinese markets sans any difficulty.
It may be hard to believe, but the fact is that the Indian movies are a huge hit even in the Chinese markets. And with World Trade Organization urging China to welcome entertainment exports from the United States, India too can look forward to cash in on this opportunity. In a recent development, WTO appellate court has struck to its earlier stand that China has not been too rigid in terms of foreign music, cinema, literature and theatre. The WTO dispute settlement body is suppose to arrive at a final decision on China within 30 days, on the other hand China has another 30 days left to reply on how it intends to respond to the ruling. If China decides to toe WTO line, then it would have to adopt a more flexible approach towards import of literature, film, music and other entertainment products. The maximum China can do is to bring into action the censor boards to restrict the imports. However the censor board can have a say only on the total imports, but it cannot stop the influx of foreign entertainment and literature from its markets.
Though WTO ruling was in reply to a US complaint, India too can look forward to gain maximum leverage out of it. Today, India’s entertainment and publishing industry is nowhere near United States. In fact, the revenue of Walt Disney Studios is twice as much as that of the entire film industry, so the prospect of exporting Indian entertainment products to China should be explored to the optimum. Indian diplomats and entertainment industry have been knocking at their doors for quite some time now. Today, at least a few Indian films have made its way into the Chinese markets; take for example, Lagaan. Though the commercial release of Lagaan was met with certain amount of opposition; however, few others have made its way to the Chinese markets sans any difficulty. The success of Indian films in China brings to the fore the untapped potential of large markets like China for Indian entertainment exports.
In 1994, India had opposed WTO ruling of opening its markets to United States for entertainment exports. However, the growth of Indian entertainment industry in the past decade has put to rest all the lingering doubts. From about Rs. 58,400 crore, the entertainment industry is expected to touch Rs. 1,05,200 core by 2013. Having said that, one should also bear in mind, when Hollywood exports consist of 50 percent of its total entertainment output, India, on the other hand exports only 20 percent of its output. And India entertainment industry primarily targets the overseas Indians. In this regards, there is a growing realization that with some creativity and imagination, Indian entertainment and publishing Industry could gain access to wider global market. The opening of Chinese market should be of great significance to India. For China, adhering to WTO rules is the best way to proclaim to the world that it s an open society.
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