​Film and TV production set to lead sci-fi industry

China’s sci-fi industry saw rapid growth in 2018 with its output value more than tripling to 45.6 billion yuan, according to a report released at the 2019 China Science Fiction Convention in Beijing Nov. 3. 

The rapid growth was led by domestic sci-fi film and TV production, which grew 1.61 times in 2018, according to the “2019 Report on China’s Science Fiction Industry”. 

In the first half of 2019, sci-fi films produced an output value of 17.2 billion yuan, of which 6.9 billion yuan was contributed by Chinese productions. 

Over the entirety of 2018, and the first half of 2019, sci-fi films had grown significantly both in their own box office revenue and their proportion in the Chinese total, the report stated. 

Though Hollywood still has a dominant share, with the screening early this year of the Chinese film “Wandering Earth,” the share of Chinese sci-fi films rose greatly, challenging its traditional leading position. 

The report also provided statistics on online sci-fi drama series. 

The sector’s 2018 productions had an estimated output value of 3 billion yuan. Meanwhile, citing available usage statistics, the report said the seven productions already released in the first half of 2019 had an output value of 1 billion yuan with a total of eight billion hits. 

In comparison, the sci-fi reading sector saw 1.83-fold growth to 1.78 billion yuan in 2018, continuing strong in the first half of this year with output value of 1.38 billion yuan, representing 77 percent of the 2018 total. 

In 2018, sci-fi video games saw an obvious revenue growth slowdown, with total output value of 19.5 billion yuan. However, the figure was 11 billion yuan in the first half of 2019. 

In terms of sci-fi derivatives, the sector realized an output value of 450 million yuan in 2018, with “Three-Body Problem” and “Wandering Earth” being its biggest inspirations. 

Examining the future prospects of the domestic science fiction industry, the report said that film and TV productions would continue to lead industry growth with strong performance. 

However, the sci-fi industry will see new forms of business emerging steadily like sci-fi theme parks, sci-fi conventions and exhibitions, and sci-fi shows, while the number of people working in the industry will grow steadily, although a talent shortage remains prominent problem, such as a severe lack of sci-fi writers. 

Meanwhile, R&D into new technologies, like virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence and biotechnology, will begin to integrate with the sci-fi industry, giving rise to new ways of expression; government input will continue to increase, while basic theoretical research and education will be the key to sustainable industry growth.

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