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Cultural wealth to boost Shandong's economy
By Zhao Ruixue (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-09-23 13:15

Cultural wealth to boost Shandong's economy

How to transfer time-honored cultural wealth into economic benefits is now a serious concern of the authorities in Shandong, the hometown of Confucius.

Last year, the province saw its cultural industry - a sector that the locals refer to as including publications, media, animation and even tourism - constitute about 20 percent of year-on-year growth and earning 85.79 billion yuan in revenue.

"Shandong's rich culture lays a solid base for the development of the province's cultural industry," said Li Qun, head of the provincial publicity department, adding that a number of local enterprises are now making efforts to build their own brands relating to local cultural characteristics.

"Seeing the province's richness in cultural resources, the authorities in Shandong are also intensifying its efforts to support the brand-building initiative," Li added.

According to statistics from the provincial government, a total of 45 billion yuan has been invested in the cultural sector during the first half of this year.

With regard to its cultural assets, Li said Shandong, as one of the important birthplaces of the Chinese civilization, features Confucius Culture and links to the Red Culture of the Communist Party.

Cultural wealth to boost Shandong's economy

Tens of thousands of people from across the globe  come to Qufu every year for the  Confucius Cultural Festival, helping make it one of the top ten gatherings of its kind in the world. 

In addition, the China (Qufu) International Confucius Cultural Festival, which has been ranked as one of the world's top 10 most influential festivals by the International Festivals &Events Association, brings both culture and an annual revenue of over 2 billion yuan for the tourism sector.

Another place with cultural significance is Taishan Mountain, one of "Five Sacred Mountains" in China and a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site.

Since this October, the Grand Worship of Heaven and Earth in Taishan will open to the public. Also called "fengshan" in Chinese, this is an outdoor performance that commemorates the historic ceremony held by ancient emperors.

The area's recent initiative is to hold the Taishan International Climbing Festival every year, which aims to further promote its recognition in the world.

In Jinan, the provincial capital, the Cultural Industry Exposition, which has been held for the past two years, has witnessed the signing of more than 1,500 projects related to cultural industry.

In addition to the festivals and events, the province has also seen the rise of some famous brands in the media and publication fields.

For example, Dazhong News Group is now the leading newspaper company in Shandong. Last year the group's total assets reached 3 billion yuan and its business revenues hit 1.8 billion yuan.

The Qilu Evening News, a subsidiary of the group, has been listed among the top 10 evening newspapers in China over the past four years.

The paper's brand value is now evaluated at more than 1.4 billion yuan.

Shandong Publishing Group is another successful example in brand building. Its assets totaled 8.43 billion yuan and sales revenue was 6.73 billion yuan last year.

Brands of private companies in Shandong have also come to the forefront. Leading this league is the King and Key Education Group based in Zibo. This book distributing company reported 1.2 billion yuan in sales revenue last year, making it the number one among private book distributors in China.

With respect to the animation industry, three animation industry bases featuring digital animation games and software development have been established in Qingdao, Yantai and Jinan.