The Panda celebrates Memorial Day at the Great Wall


Memorial Day 2011 has its Chinese version; Disney is releasing Kung Fu Panda in China this weekend. It such come as no surprise that a major movie opens in China the same week it opens in the United States.   China generated $1.5 billion dollars it ticket sales, an increase of 64 percent in one year; so with a potential audience of billions, Hollywood, like Wal-Mart cannot ignore the Chinese audience.  The first round of invasion of China will go unnoticed here, in fact Hollywood films are already over 10 years into their Chinese invasion.

Today the movies released in China are not unlike the cars or any other American product being sold in China, they are really designed for the American consumer and are only crudely translated into Chinese before being introduced.  But that will change – to be successful in China will require products designed for Chinese; the Chinese is market is so much larger that any other, except India, that all corporations will have to develop a Chinese strategy some time – if not this year, then within a decade or two.

And when that happens, we will feel the impact; many products, including movies, will be made for China and then as an after-thought released here – and of course with the same crude language or cultural translations that is used today in China.  So, like yesterday’s casino openings representing a new era, I am choosing this Memorial Day as the beginning of a new era in movies; today American movies are going to China – soon Chinese movies will be coming here. That is really what being a third world country is like; everything you see or consume is really made for someone else.  Nothing is in your language or translates well into your culture – think of the convoluted development of our concepts of kung fu and pandas – just how likely do you think it is that anybody living in China will experience the movie in the way an American will?

It gets worse, image living in Africa and watching reruns of American television or old American movies.  It does not take an army to colonize, a movie can be a very effective weapon in colonization; today we send our colonizers to China, but soon China will be sending its colonizers to us. Scary, Chinese is a really difficult language to learn as an adult.  There are still very many implications of the increasing purchasing power of the Chinese consumer that we have not yet begun to imagine.

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