Creative Industry In Changing China Cultural Studies Essay

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The British Pavilion, which is named as 'Dandelion' or 'Seed Cathedral' by many visitors, is one of the most popular national pavilions in the Shanghai World Expo. It is designed as a roofless open park structured with over 60,000 transparent acrylic spines containing seeds. All the spines may slightly shake with winds, making the surface of the pavilion in format of various sorts of gloss and colour.

Many visitors prefer to wait for over two or three hours to see the true exhibits. But the visitors who really enter the pavilion seldom found plentiful displays as expected. However, that is the creativity of the pavilion that utterly convinces tourists. David Martin, deputy director of the British Pavilion said that the British Pavilion is one of the pavilions that fit the theme of Shanghai World Expo most. From the industrial revolution period, Britain started building cities with large-scale constructions and gradually worked out the most suitable way of city planning for living. Housing construction has been progressively developed from simply meeting the needs of living and using to a more comprehensive development of creative arts, practical utility and environmental friendly. (Government Portal, 2010) In another popular venues - Germany Pavilion, visitors are surprised by it unique shape design. Four main building looks scarcely stable for each individual, but they seemed very harmonious together.

Actually, it just provides a window for Chinese domestic fledgling creative industries. The contribution of creative industries to GDP is still low in China. It is a clear indication that the largest trade deficit between China and USA was happened in creative industries. Anwarul Chowdbury, the Under-Secretary-General of UN, once had been interviewed and said that in the post-industrial counties and developing counties, creative industries are showing extraordinary energy. According to UNCTAD statistic, creative industries accounted for 7% of global GDP in 2004; it is estimated that the proportion will reach 11% by 2015. The annual increasing value created enriches the existing common knowledge and cultural wealth. There is no exaggeration of saying that creative industries have setting off a new industrial revolution globally. (Shanghai Portal, 2005)

China as a developing country with more attention on manufacturing and common industries has fallen behind the benchmark line. However, the GDP of creative industry in Shanghai has weighted over 6% of total which is remarkable, as the current average level of the creative industries in developing countries accounted for 4% of GDP. There is no doubt that Shanghai has become a leader in the creative industries in developing counties. From the policy view, Chinese government did make great effort on promoting the creative industries. Shanghai municipal leaders have given prominence to the industry as well as the cultivation of creative talents and the exploration of creative theories.

In the industry view, in fact, the attention should be focused not only on industry, but more on originality and creativity. The development of creative industries is neither just a slogan, nor a sudden inspiration of individual arts designers, but rather an innovation among cultural transmission of knowledge and society, pattern of industry development and social operation manner. The key is how the government and society guiding and creating this kind of environment.

Impact on regional economy and industrial restructuring

The first World Expo in its true sense in the history had been held in London on May 1st, 1851. It was an exhibition of showing nation power and the achievement of Industrial Revolution. The London Expo was marked as the beginning of the modern meaning of the Expo, as it meant the transformation of simple exchange of goods to the new product technology and the philosophy of life. (Yu J. & Zhu R., 2007) 2010 Shanghai Expo is the first Expo with a theme of 'CITY' in the history by now. 'Better City, Better Life' is the theme of Shanghai Expo. Not only has Shanghai GDP growth boost up, but also has brought new cultural and creative ideas. There have been a large number of outstanding talents been cultivated which being professional in event management, corporate hospitality and system management

As a city with meager resources and relative high labour costs, Shanghai has depended on manufacturing for a long time. Creative industry is an emerging intellectual industry in the context of global industrial restructuring and upgrading, and its development level is an important indicator of measuring national or regional industrial structure, economic vitality, city functions and consumption levels. Creative industry does act as one of the most essential major driving forces of modern urban economy growth and competitiveness. Its characters of low energy consumption, low pollution, high value-add and high integration would expand regional economic development with premise of low cost inputs. From the experience of other developed western countries, the best choice for future economic transformation of Shanghai is thought to be creative industries, which is a compounded employment industry containing less resource spent and relative higher value added. Creative industry has been proven by the past decade development as the best. Chinese creative industries had great development with output value increased from 900 billion RMB in 2005 to current more than 3,900 billions RMB.

Therefore, shift of growth mode and promotion of industrial upgrading is the vital task of China in the new round of economic development. Its core is to optimize the industrial structure and increase the added value rate, which undisputedly made itself a new bright spot of economic growth. Developing the creative industries has become one of the most important avenues to upgrade the industrial structure and to elevate the added value of traditional industries. Product value consists of two parts, functional value and sense value. According to the demand for development of individuality and diversity, consumer demand for the product not only just meeting basic demand but also providing extra convenience and aesthetic perception. (Cong. H. & Gao C., 2010) For example, at the ground open area of Japanese Industry Pavilion, there is a products exhibit of 'Future Post Office. In the stationery shop, rubbers that being re-designed can be sold at several times higher price. In order to easily modify minor parts, Japanese designer make the rubber with 28 edges and corners; similarly, ordinary notebook is designed to have two opposite directions slopes from both the lower and upper half of it, in order to facilitate turning. Those seemingly small changes not only contain marvelous creative power, but reflect people-oriented concept.

He Zengqiang, Secretary-General of Shanghai Creative Industry Center mentioned, (Shanghai Evening News, 2010)

'Creative industries is an industry that based on individual's skills and ideas, through the use of intellectual property rights, make it into copyright and patent and ultimately form added wealth and employment growth. It has four elements: skills, intellectual property, high added value and high-density employment.'

In April 2005, the first batch of eighteen creative industries cluster has been officially awarded. Shanghai developed and reuse of more than 100 aged industrial buildings, renovated several old factories and old warehouses to form a number of unique creative industries clusters, which made its own way in urban renewal. Nearly 30 countries and regions with more than 400 design and creative enterprises were settled in. It gathered over 10,000 creative talents, which would create a new industry full of infinite potential for Shanghai. (Lu Y., 2006)

As a carrier of the creative industries, creative industry cluster provides unique benefit compared with general business offices. Many aged buildings with historical background and stories are been renovated in creative industry clusters, and its geographic location is pretty good for a relatively convenient transportation environment. In addition, most clusters which combined by industry patterns have really better business atmosphere. For example, arts galleries and studios can be put together, which requires interrelated working environment. After relative industries are gathered, it will produce industry standards that will attract more crowds. Moreover, governments tend to provide more policy concessions to support the development of creative industry clusters. Meanwhile, inside the same block, creative industry cluster shows obvious advantage of lower rents compared to general offices.

Shanghai World Expo Park is selected by the China Association of World Record as the Expo of keeping most old buildings within park. It integrated the redevelopment of industrial heritages to construct a growth engine for urban creative industry. There are over 20,000 square meters of historic buildings being preserved and protected in Shanghai World Expo Park. More than 400,000 square meters of industrial buildings, which counted as one-fifth of the total construction area of the park have been protectively reconstructed and replaces. Shanghai World Expo Park is located in the most concentrated areas of industrial heritage, where carries a lot about the city's historical memories. (Baidu Baike, 2010)

Development of creative industries also promotes the social division of labour, hence leads the restructuring of traditional industries. For instance, new demand of product design has been generated in manufacturing. Division of process can be separated to be independent manipulated by a professional division. It is how advertising and design industry being derived. This is believed that more subdivided professional areas would appear as further development. During the Shanghai Expo, demand of talents in exhibition, language translation, foreign law, logistics and international trade, especially the desire of creative planning design professionals boosts up to over 133% of average in May, 2010. (Sohu Edu., 2010)

Creative industry has the potential of leading Shanghai seeking the neutral point of high productivity and low unemployment, which more idle resources would be reused to develop needed emerging industries. In this sense, it is very instructive. In creative industry, a number of industries and sectors are involved, while the developments of various industries are relatively uneven. Variety supporting policies of key industries should be determined with the purpose of forming industry advantage in a short time. It is learnt from developed countries that supporting the advantageous industry to boost creative industry as a whole.


Changing in the pattern of economic development is a profound revolution in economic aspect of China. Expo as a visual feast has promoted a variety of activities such as academic conferences, international economic forum, cultural events and entertainment. Based on the former experience, the cultural and creative talents as well as industry will usher in unprecedented opportunities in countries and cities that hosting World Expo.

The 2010 Shanghai World Expo has opened a window of further industrial adjustments. Not only is the World Expo a conventional exhibition, but it is also a historical city event that breathing through developments of Shanghai in the past decades. World Expo is a kind of creation of urban and national collective event, achieving the flagship leading and radical changing of the country and city. It can be convinced Shanghai can export experience of developing creative industries to other developing countries. Shanghai's experience in the development of creative industries provides a useful reference to transforming the development model for developing countries