Cinema History 中

Despite being a great world power, Chinese authorities still have a battle to win: their attempts to gain international audience are counterproductive and often perceived as propaganda by the rest of the world. The soft power – in Mandarin Ruǎn shílì (软实力) – was officially adopted by the Chinese government as a political principle in 2007 during the 17th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, for serving the purpose of promoting China on the international scene. Soft power is a persuasive approach to international relations, typically involving the use of economic or cultural influence, and Beijing government now recognises the cinema industry as one of the essential tools of Chinese soft power.

As China’s investment into American cinema market is experiencing growth, Hollywood gladly welcomes their businessmen. While Chinese investors are interested in buying shares of the Hollywood studios, China’s real soft power lies in deciding which movies get access to the country. The American producers are willing to attract the Chinese to obtain access to their theatres. It’s a fact that China will soon become the first cinema market in the world overtaking the U.S., and it is using that fact to influence how Hollywood represents it.

In my opinion, cinema is politics and has always been it by giving a politicised point of view. Most of the time it’s subtle, not extravagant, not written in big bold letters, but it is. By politics, I mean political acts, political opinions, points of view on society.

In January 2016, the Chinese conglomerate Wanda announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Legendary Entertainment studio, known for its successful blockbusters (producer of sagas Jurassic World or Pacific Rim, in particular). By investing $ 3.5 billion, Wanda has made the biggest takeover of an entertainment company by a Chinese group. This investment reflects the spirit of Zǒu chūqù (走出 ), literally “go out”, a strategy proposed by the Chinese government to private companies to expand and conquer new markets. Today, this policy is not limited to commercial activities but becomes a strategic element of Chinese soft power policy.

If this strategy mainly serves Chinese interests, it also benefits US companies. Thus the agreement between Wanda and Legendary places the Californian production company in a prime position for the Chinese box office. While China protects its film industry by limiting the number of foreign films distributed on its territory (34 by year), co-productions with China pass through these limitations. We understand the interest of major American studios in the face of investments and alliances with Chinese producers: access to a massive market.

WUHAN, CHINA - JUNE 27: (CHINA OUT) The Audience watch the 3D film "Transformers - Age Of Extinction" through 3D glasses at a cinema on June 27, 2014 in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
WUHAN, CHINA – JUNE 27: (CHINA OUT) The Audience watch the 3D film “Transformers – Age Of Extinction” through 3D glasses at a cinema (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

For China, this operation is also quite appealing regarding their image. Between 2002 and 2012, 37 films were co-produced by China and the United States. In 2015, ten Sino-US co-productions were signed. But to achieve co-production status, the movie are all screened by the China Films Co-production Corporation (CFCC), under the direct auspices of NRTA (The National Radio and Television Administration). The main criteria are: turn at least a part on Chinese soil, have at least one actor and Chinese character, be produced by one or more Chinese companies at least one-third of investments. So co-productions with China cannot show a face of the country that would displease the authorities. Whether foreign co-productions or blockbusters succeed in integrating the Chinese market, the image of China, returned by these big budget and export-oriented films, is mostly positive.

In “2012” (Emmerich, 2009), the Secretary General of the White House sings the praises of China and describes its scientists as “visionaries” for making the ark that saves civilisation.

In “The Martian” (Ridley Scott, 2015), the Chinese space agency CNSA proposes to NASA to use their unveiled rocket, to perform a supply mission to the planet Mars. This Chinese aid will ultimately save astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) and bring him back to Earth.

Chinese people rescue American people from the Mars in the Martian
Chinese people rescue American from Mars in the Martian

In “Doctor Strange” (Scott Derrickson, 2016), the Ancient One is Celtic, played by British actress Tilda Swinton but in the 1960’s Marvel comics the Ancient One is drawn as an elderly Tibetan man. The producers decided to change the character’s ethnicity to avoid offending the Chinese government.

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Alipay and Wechat Pay Around the world – Infographic

WeChatPay and Alipay are two giant of the online payment industry. Even though they provide mainly to the Chinese market, they own a massive amount of users. WeChatPay and Alipay are on the way of global expansion, and you may not be familiar with these two online payment platforms now, but I can bet that you will be soon.

The expansion of WeChatPay and Alipay continues around the world. If your business is targeting directly or indirectly the Chinese market or Chinese customers, it might be a good idea for you to offer these two payment options for your customers.

The presence of WeChatPay and Alipay around the world
Infographic – Alipay and WeChatPay presence around the world

The reason why these two giants are expanding globally is clear. To target Chinese money abroad, they need to make Chinese consumers comfortable even when outside the borders of mainland China.

The way Chinese approach shopping is, in fact, unique compared to the rest of the world. If it is true that online payments in China have become more ubiquitous than anywhere else around the globe, it must be recognized that Chinese consumers firmly believe in trust. Trust is especially important when it comes to clicking the buy button.

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Sympathy for Mr. Blockchain : The Digital Identity


Blockchain is known for being a system behind cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin or Ether ( the cryptocurrencies generated by Ethereum), yet this technology may have other uses than just a financial instrument.

But first, what’s a blockchain?

Created by Satoshi Nakamoto blockchain is a digitized, decentralized, digital ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. It’s a constantly growing list of data, of record, called blocks. This blocks are recorded, linked and added to the chain in chronological order, allowing every market participants to keep track of digital currency transactions without central record-keeping. The blockchain is downloaded automatically to every computer connected, called node, to the network. By design, blockchains are resistant to modification of the data and are therefore unhackable. Read more about the blockchain technology in our previous article “La Blockchain Technology : 10 termes à connaitre” (Article in french) 

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The digital identity

The blockchain system is based on a contract, that holds both parties accountable for it; thus,  they are able to fulfill their end of a bargain only in case of completing the terms of agreement, also known as a SmartContract. The digital identification of individual parties is an important part of the process, and it works in the following way: the identity component of blockchain technology is generated by the use of cryptographic keys. The identification system is based on public and private keys, where a combination of both keys creates your digital identity.

The « public key » is how you identify yourself (e.g. an email address), the « private key » is your way to express consent through digital interactions. Cryptography is an important force behind blockchain revolution, and the use of it gives an opportunity to establish a strong system for digital identity.

The identification system of the Blockchain technology can be applied to a number of cases, such as digital identities, passports, E-residency, birth certificates, wedding certificates, IDs, online account login etc. However, in my point of view, a digital voting system, that prevents voter fraud, is one of the most important ways to apply the technology in a real world.

 Digital voting

Security and voter fraud seriously affect the process of electoral process digitalization, and, consequently, it is a critical obstacle to establishing democracy across the globe. The validity of election results has always been questionable, furthermore digital, cybersecurity and voter frauds are of the biggest concerns in the recent elections. Blockchain technology with two identification keys could turn into an unhackable virtual vote-counting system, securing the voters’ identification and guaranteeing that votes cannot be marked with a later date.

The voter turnout has been very low in every major election in the Western world (e.g. election in the US and France, the referendum on Brexit etc.). The digital voting system could be a way to reduce the number of non-voters by providing a viable alternative voting system to younger generations, the elderly, and the disabled. The voter would also be able to anonymously check whether their vote was successfully submitted by the system.

In the same way that blockchain acts as a register for cryptocurrencies exchanges, it can also create a permanent and public ledger for votes As a result, we would be able to build the future with truly democratic elections around the world.

The startup «Follow my vote» is actively working on developing such a voting system.