StarTimes to Open Nigerian Digital Content to Chinese Market

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Emma Okonji

StarTimes Nigeria is perfecting plans to export digital content productions from the Nigeria’s multi-billion naira Nollywood industry to the Chinese market, where the audience is growing at an impressive rate.

The Chief Executive Officer, StarTimes Nigeria, Justin Zhang, who made the disclosure recently, said: “The opportunities are enormous for Nollywood in China. Everyday, more and more Chinese nationals become interested in Nollywood movies. We hear good things about Nollywood movies and this is a significant improvement for the industry. StarTimes is working with one of the major movie distributors in China and is already holding talks with the minister of information, stakeholders in Nigeria’s movie distribution sector and a Bank to see to a successful exportation of Nigerian movies to China.”

As world’s most populous country with 1.4 billion people, China’s cinema market currently has a staggering 45,000 screens as compared to Nigeria’s 200. This, according to Zhang, is an opportunity for the Nigerian movie industry to step up in terms of production quality in a bid to reap the benefits of a larger audience.

“Apart from the fact that many jobs will be created when this kicks off, it is also an opportunity for producers in Nigeria to increase their earnings. Imagine if a Nollywood production is exported to the Chinese box office where over 45,000 screens exist, the opportunities are unending. It will be a dream come true for us at StarTimes to see Nollywood movies grossing up to $50 million in the box office,” he said.

In the first nine months of this year, China added a little over 7,500 new cinema screens, continuing a trend seen over the past few years. China has been building cinema screens at a rate of over 12 a day for the past five years, rising to 27 a day this year.

Over the years, StarTimes Nigeria has supported the localisation of Chinese movies and currently also owns a featured content platform, with 440 authorised channels across Africa, consisting of news, movies, series, sports, entertainment, children’s programs, fashion, religion and lots more.