City Weekend

How does Hong Kong compare with Asian counterparts on development of creative industries?

Governments set up dedicated authorities to promote the sector in places like South Korea, Taiwan and Japan

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 August, 2017, 10:01am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 August, 2017, 10:01am

Up until now, Hong Kong has not convincingly proved itself capable of keeping up with its Asian counterparts in developing its creative industries, with some places having dedicated authorities to promote the sector.

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South Korea

In South Korea, the Korean Creative Content Agency is the central body which oversees the development of its creative industries, covering everything from music and fashion to gaming and animation. The country offers rebates for exports of cultural content. The government has also set up the Korea New Exchange – a stock exchange for start-ups. In 2015, the private sector contributed US$1 billion to a fund to provide support to start-ups. It only takes five days to register and open a business – half the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development average.


The government in Taiwan has been encouraging the development of its creative industries since 2009. In 2015, the Ministry of Culture launched the second stage of a creative and cultural investment plan worth US$61.5 million , which offered funding for various creative enterprises. Government funding for prospective applicants was increased from 50 per cent to 75 per cent. One notable success story is Taiwan ARTCCI Company, which markets Taiwanese artworks and has two workshops for artists in Kaohsiung. It has successfully set up an online marketplace for Taiwanese artworks.


The Creative Industries Promotion Office, part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, has been coordinating the development of the country’s creative industries since 2010. The office has sought to promote the concept of “Cool Japan”, described by some as a form of soft power to influence culture globally. The government invested US$237 million in 2011 and hopes to increase profits by US$85 billion to US$698 billion by 2020. But despite the investment, a report by the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in 2014 found “creative industries are not growing in terms of sales or the number of employees and establishments as a whole.” The report found the main area of growth was in computer services.

The region

Within the Asia- Pacific region in 2016, there were about 12.7 million jobs generating US$743 billion in the cultural and creative industries (CCI), according to a recent study by consulting group EY for the Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Auteurs et Compositeurs. The Asia-Pacific CCI market was consequently the largest in the world.

The biggest revenue contributor within the sector was visual arts, generating about US$191.5 billion. The study’s authors cited two major contributors as Tencent, a key mainland player in games and instant messaging, which had consolidated revenues of US$20 billion in 2013, and Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, the world’s bestselling newspaper, which prints 10 million copies a day.

Key sources of potential growth include the mainland film industry, architecture in Japan and the music industry in South Korea.