Lai Mohammed

Solomon Elusoji in Beijing
Regulators of the world’s second largest film market, China, are open to the idea of opening-up to Nollywood, according to the Deputy Director of the Chinese State Administration of Radio and Television, Dr. Yan Chengsheng.

China’s film market is one of the most highly regulated in the world, with only about 50 foreign films being approved to screen in the country annually. But Chengsheng who spoke to THISDAY yesterday at the sidelines of a meeting with a group of African journalists, noted that Nollywood is “important for China.”

“We have a lot of theatres and screens and it will be great to screen Nigerian movies here,” he said. “But that also depends on quality.”
Nollywood is the second largest film industry in the world, in terms of volume, and is popular across Africa, Europe and America, but has yet to gain access to the vast Chinese market.

Last year, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had called for the screening of Nollywood movies in China, noting that such a development would reciprocate Nigeria’s gesture towards Chinese movies, which are shown in the country.
Meanwhile, Chengsheng called for patience regarding Chinese media engagement with Africa.

“While telling Chinese stories to the world, we are also willing to tell African stories,” he said. “But the technique and capability of telling a good story needs to be improved. So there may be some cases where we are not doing quite well, but we need time.

“All in all, we cherish our friendship with African countries. There will be some misunderstanding, but there is also room for improvement. Sometimes foreign countries try to tell China stories but it is not what we want. In this case, we talk to them. We need time to make progress. But, in general, we feel familiar and want to make great friends with Africa. So I am confident that through deeper cooperation and exchanges, we can improve our capabilities of telling good African stories.”

As part of its efforts to deepen cooperation between its media and African countries, China will host the fourth Forum on China-Africa Media cooperation in Beijing next month, where it will seek to deepen its relationship with the continent.
“We hope that we can learn from each other experiences and cooperate in promoting practical cooperation.
“China and Africa media supplement each other very well. And through cooperation we can have a lot to do,” Chengsheng said.