Let China's culture industry blossom

Updated: 2011-11-22 13:58

By Zhang Zhao (China Daily)

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The Shenzhen-based Overseas Chinese Town Group (OCT) - known for its successful "tourism plus real estate" business model - has a new target, and is reorienting itself as a comprehensive manager of modern service industries, the secretary of the board reported recently.

Let China's culture industry blossom

OCT's carnivals have become one of its most popular festivities. [Photo/ China Daily]

OCT, one of China's top companies in tourism and culture industry, is getting a "new identity", the board secretary, Ni Zheng, said, "evolving from our traditional business model", by integrating as many products and business practices as possible, in a limited space.

The OCT Group is one of the very few State-owned enterprises, under State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission control, that devotes itself largely to culture.

It is also one of the world's top eight tourism companies, and the only one from Asia, with tourism sites all over China, which had more than 20 million visitors last year.

"China needs its own gigantic company and top brands in the culture industry to let its culture blossom - and that suits OCT to a T," Ni said.

In its 26 years, the company has developed a number of businesses involving tourism, theme parks, art museums, art performances, and festivals, but things are different now. In the future, it wants "to integrate resources and repair the weak links in the industrial chain".

OCT's performance arm has more than 1,800 professionals and is the largest of its kind among Chinese companies, but it consists of many branch companies. So, one of the company's major moves over the next year is to possibly establish a new company to integrate the branches.

"The new company will become the largest, most recognized company of its kind in China, and could have the largest market share," Ni said.

"It will offer more high-quality shows with traditional Chinese and local characteristics for visitors from all over the world."

The OCT Group has a total of 11 art museums scattered across the country, some still under construction, and it plans to integrate them as well, into China's first art chain, by next year.

According to Ni, this sector will entirely non-profit at first, but, after it "grows strong enough and complete enough, there will be a separate company to run it".

The company is also looking abroad and established partnership with Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan in September, with an eye on art performances and festivals at first, according to Ni.

New areas

The group acquired a high-tech entertainment company from Shenzhen in June, now known by the name OCT Vision Inc. Its branch focuses on theme park design and management, entertainment facilities, and movie and video game development.

"The company serves culture first and foremost," said Wang Xiao, the vice-general manager.

"We're using technology to improve tourism-related products, and are not content just to run a few entertainment facilities. We prefer instead to put our own cultural elements into them, to show our understanding of culture, entertainment and history."

Another of the group's emerging sectors is concerned with childhood education and development. For that end it has the OCT Hike Co Ltd, founded in August 2010, which focuses on children aged 3-15.

It plans to open two career-experience parks in Shenzhen and Chengdu, Sichuan province, in the next year, where children can get a feel for various types of jobs in a simulated city.

This will not only give them a bit of professional understanding, but also help them establish the proper social values.

OCT Hike will use an evaluation system for its parks, the first of its type in China, so that it can evaluate the children's performance in the simulated city and explain the results to the parents.