Cashing in on booming culture and creativity industry

The annual Hangzhou Cultural and Creative Industry Expo this month with push the city's brand in an industry that generates almost a quarter of its economy.

The cultural and creative sector accounts for almost a quarter of Hangzhou's  economy and the city is pushing its brand at an expo from September 19 to 23.

The main venue of the 12th annual Hangzhou Cultural and Creative Industry Expo is the Baima Lake International Convention and Exhibition Center, with three more venues around Hangzhou and Tonglu. 

The main exhibition space will be set up like a real neighborhood, complete with props such as zebra crossings and street lamps.

It will be divided into several exhibition areas: national, creative life, culture and technology, and traditional crafts.

The expo will host 17 forums and conferences featuring business leaders, academics and industry observers such as the ex-chairman of the British fashion house Burberry John Peach, vice chancellor of West Lake University Xu Tian and celebrity-turned investor and businessman Li Yapeng.

Participants from over 40 countries and regions will attend the national theme area.

The British pavilion covering 1,000 square meters will showcase some of the best British designs and products presented by the British Consul General in Shanghai, the Nottingham City Council and include brands ranging from Corgi socks to Fulton umbrellas and Newby tea.

“By attending the expo, British brands are also seeking possible collaboration with the highly-active e-commerce businesses in Hangzhou and also distributors and buyers here,” said Ma Weifeng, from the China-Britain Business Council.

High technologies like unmanned convenience stores, mobile payment and facial recognition will be used to improve the consumer experience.

Another highlight this year is that the expo is not limited to a specific time and space.

The Hangzhou International Creative Life Week and the creative art walk project mean that locals and tourists are able to connect with the cultural events and facilities in the city all year round.

Twelve tailored art walk routes cover more than 140 sights, from book stores to art centers, shops, creative industrial parks and characteristic towns. These places can also be accessed online with maps and audio guides via an app on WeChat.

“As one of the pillar industries of Hangzhou, the cultural and creative industry accounts for 24.2 percent of gross domestic product," said Li Jia, project head and secretary-general of the Hangzhou Talent Association for the Cultural and Creative Industry.

"It should benefit more people and make our life better."

Last year, 259,000 people visited the expo and 168 agreements were inked worth about 3.86 billion yuan (US$566 million).

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