British PM announces new UK-China creative and cultural collaboration

UK Prime Minister announces a new package of UK-China creative and cultural collaboration today, including commercial deals for a new Eden Project and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in China.

As China’s economy diversifies, and as the country moves from a heavily industrialised to a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy, there are ambitions for culture and creative industries to reach 5% of China’s national GDP by 2020.

The UK is seen as a strong partner for China to achieve its ambitions in this sector, with creative industries the UK’s fastest-growing sector, and a major employer of 1 in every 11 in the workforce.

The V&A has recently opened a new gallery in Shenzhen, and the Terracotta Army will arrive in Liverpool for a new major eight-month exhibition next week. It is the first time in more than a decade that the warriors have come to the UK, and the exhibition includes items never previously shown outside of China.

From Shakespeare to Sherlock, from fashion to football, UK soft power is already highly influential in China. In a 2016 British Council survey, 82% of Chinese respondents found the UK attractive – more than any other G20 country.

The Prime Minister’s visit will build on this strong foundation and create new opportunities for British businesses in the creative and cultural sector.

The Prime Minister will announce a new agreement between DCMS and China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage for a three-year programme of activity to develop UK-China cooperation in the field of cultural heritage.

The UK has world-leading expertise in heritage preservation, and this new agreement will create significant opportunities for British businesses. The Prime Minister will also welcome a string of commercial deals in the creative sector, with a potential worth of almost £300 million, including:

  • plans for a Serpentine Pavilion in Beijing to open in May 2018, modelled on the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Palace Gardens. It will be the first Pavilion co-commissioned and built by the Serpentine outside the UK
  • the announcement that ITV Studios Global Entertainment has agreed a deal with Chinese company Bilibili for the latest series of international hit Poldark, sold in to over 150 countries globally, and all four series of Mr Selfridge, the story behind the founder of London’s famous department store
  • the announcement that Zycon Media (UK) and DeZerlin Media (China) have reached an agreement to co-produce 10 animated feature films for the global market, each with a subsequent animated television series. The combined deal will employ hundreds of artists, technicians, and performers over the next 8 years
  • the announcement that UK company Silvergate Media and Chinese company CCTV Animation will jointly produce the fifth season of the award-winning British children’s animation Octonauts. The new British-Chinese co-production will be broadcast globally, including by the BBC in the UK and by CCTV in China. A further two seasons are planned
  • the announcement that Merlin Entertainments Plc will develop two new Merlin brands to China – a Dungeon in Shanghai, and a Little BIG City attraction in Beijing, as well as further investment planned for 2019 in Beijing with the opening of China’s third LEGOLAND Discovery Center
  • confirmation that the Eden Project International and China Jinmao Holdings Limited will create an iconic tourism and education centre in the city of Qingdao, focussed on the theme of water. The project is due to open in 2020. The Eden project is also announcing that it will undertake pre-planning and early feasibility consultancy work for a project in Jizhou (near the city of Tianjin) in a former limestone mine with the ultimate aim of regenerating the landscape and surrounding area. Together these projects are expected to generate 130 jobs in the UK
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The Prime Minister said:

Both the UK and China have rich and distinctive cultures of which we are rightly proud. Today’s agreements mean we will work even more closely together, collaborating on film festivals, theme parks, architecture, history and much more.

These deals underline the strength of the UK’s creative industries and will generate hundreds of millions of pounds of investment, creating opportunities across the UK.

By sharing our history and culture we will also deepen the strong ties between our two peoples.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:

We are in a golden era for UK-China relations. Our cultural collaboration is yielding fantastic results for British businesses, and the expertise of our creative industries is helping China to realise its own ambitions.

Our creative industries are fundamental to how Britain is seen across the world and this growing cultural partnership with China will help boost trade, jobs and investment.

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