China’s sci-fi industry reached 65.8 billion yuan ($9.8 billion) in revenue in 2019, up 44% year-on-year, according to a report announced on Sunday.
Sci-fi games contributed the most to the industry with an annual output value of more than 43 billion yuan ($6.4 billion), according to the report announced at the China Science Fiction Convention in Beijing.
Meanwhile, sci-fi movies raked in more than 19.5 billion yuan ($2.9 billion) at the domestic box office last year, led by blockbuster hit “The Wandering Earth”, the report added.
The movie adaption of “The Wandering Earth”, written by sci-fi mogul Liu Cixin, became China’s third highest-grossing films of all time, earning 4.65 billion yuan ($650 million) at the box office last year during Chinese New Year.
The movie was China’s first VFX-heavy sci-fi production and subsequently prompted a jump in sales in literature and sci-fi related merchandise, generating 2.01 billion yuan ($300 million) and 1.35 billion yuan ($201 million) in revenue respectively.
Liu’s other best-selling sci-fi trilogy, “The Three-Body Problem”, will have an animation adaption produced by Bilibili while a live-action series will be produced by Netflix.
At the convention, the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) and the Beijing municipal government formally signed a cooperation deal to build sci-fi development platform tools, boost the industry’s overall development, strengthen research and expand talent training. It has also called for the establishment of an international sci-fi award.
Li Xin, District Mayor and Deputy Secretary of the Shijingshan District Committee, also announced at the event the establishment of a 50 million yuan ($7.4 million) fund dedicated for the sci-fi industry to develop relevant technological capabilities, talent training programs and related infrastructure.
China’s appetite for entertainment products in the science fiction genre has increased significantly in recent years, including movies, novels, TV series and games.
In August, a joint document issued by China’s National Film Administration and CAST highlighted key policy measures to boost the country’s production of sci-fi films.
The guideline emphasized sci-fi films as a significant growth area and a new driving force for the high-quality development of China’s film industry, calling for support and guidance on sci-fi related production, distribution, special effects and talent training.