Business / Industries

Box office fraud shadows China's film market

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-07 09:48

BEIJING - Recurring box office fraud has cast a shadow over China's surging film market, now the world's second largest.

Last week, seven Chinese cinemas were banned from screening new films due to cheating on box office figures.

The suspension is the second of its kind this year after nine cinemas were punished for similar conduct in February.

The fraud was committed to avoid lawfully sharing box office earnings with filmmakers and other parties, said Tu Biao, a seasoned film market observer.

Is Fraud inevitable? 

Box office fraud is a natural outcome of the ballooning film sector in the country, according to Shi Chuan, vice president of the Shanghai Film Association and a professor at Shanghai University.

China's box office sales in 2013 neared 21.8 billion yuan ($3.6 billion), up from 860 million yuan in 2002 when the sector became more commercialized.

Shi said the film market expanded not only in box office figures, but also in the number of cinema screens, which have extended into second-tier and third-tier cities as well as counties over the years.

As of April this year, there were 20,285 screens in the country, compared to 1,581 in 2002, according to figures from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), the nation's film watchdog.

Box office fraud shadows China's film market

Box office fraud shadows China's film market

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