Beijing Beat blog with Mark Godfrey

Beijing Beat

China Allows Foreign Investors Into Live Music

Apr 24

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4/24/2008 4:02 AM  RssIcon

Government finally decides foreigners can invest in local venues


Richard Wageman, a lawyer at the Beijing offices of DLA Piper sent me an interesting appraisal of a new Chinese government policy initiative. Foreign investors will be allowed to invest directly in live performing arts projects in China for the first time. That’s according to Certain Comments on the Establishment of a Rational Supply System for the Performance Market and the Promotion of the Prosperous Development of the Performance Market, a torturously titled document released by nine Chinese ministries and commissions, including the policy-setting National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Culture.

Before the Comments were issued on January 30, the Administrative Regulations on Commercial Performance (in effect since 1997) had permitted foreign investment for renovation and construction of commercial performing arts theatres and other performance venues, but prohibited participation by foreign investors in operations and management. This is good news for China’s non-state performing arts troupes, perennially starved of funds. Entertainment in China trends towards massive outdoor pop concerts, performances by state-funded troupes in large government-owned halls (like the new National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing)

With even state-run troupes often complaining of lack of funds, the new bent in policy will allow private cash and stakes in these often underused venues. Some of the thinking may be to put on more traditional Chinese forms of entertainment for tourists – Peking opera is after all a dying art form. Coming from such a wide swathe of government authorities suggests the policy will be expedited and foreign investment approved fast.

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