The international animation festival comes of age

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Ti Gong

The celebration of the 18th anniversary of CICAF takes place on June 1st.

The China International Cartoon and Animation Festival is coming of age this year. Since the first CICAF in June 2005, the festival has turned into a carnival for mega-enthusiasts across China.

The 18th CICAF is expected to start in November and preparations are still underway. Nevertheless, the organizing committee celebrated the 18th anniversary on June 1.

This year, a series of lively activities will be organized until the end of December. The committee set up stalls in the Jingshan Scenic Area and commercial areas along West Lake, inviting the public to join in the celebrations.

Deals worth 480 million yuan ($72 million) were signed at last year’s festival. Despite the pandemic, the festival still attracted more than 4,000 exhibitors and 335 companies and organizations from 56 countries and regions. Around 1,650 individual trades were conducted during the six-day event.

Before 2005, there was no original anime production in Hangzhou. In 2021, the output value of the local animation industry was 32 billion yuan.

In 2004, the county’s first national high-tech animation industry base was established in Hangzhou. Since then, the anime and video game industry in Hangzhou has become home to the country’s leading companies and talents, including video game giant NetEase, Wasu Media, Electronic Soul, Bianfeng and Zoland.

Companies like Manhoo are attracted by the city’s favorable environment, industrial cluster system and preferential policies. In 2019, Manhoo entered the film business and created the visual effects for the local animation “Ne Zha”, the highest-grossing anime film in mainland China.

After years of development, two CICAF competitions – Super Gala Cosplay and Seiyu Competition – have become a mecca for anime lovers, attracting thousands of domestic and international competitors every year.

With its booming development of cartoons and video games, digital culture, exhibitions, industrial design and electronic literature, CICAF has become an essential platform for professionals and aficionados alike.

The thriving animation industry is attributed to strong political support from the Chinese government. Zhejiang Digital Culture International Cooperation Zone was one of the second batch of national cultural export bases, and it was also the only digital culture trade zone in China.

The zone has formed a digital business chain integrating digital technology research and development, digital content creation and digital culture exports to place it at the forefront of the industry in China.

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