Creative industries to Taiwan
(Last updated: 28 Oct 2013)
Trends and opportunities
Creative industries in Taiwan are thriving as a result of increased government support and a growing interest in entertainment and the arts amongst the Taiwanese people. The creative industries as a whole, including performing arts, visual arts, film and publishing, are prioritised by the Taiwanese Government in its economic development plans. The Council of Cultural Affairs is the government body responsible for the promotion of the arts sector in Taiwan.
With around 37 per cent of Taiwan’s population attending a live performing arts event anually, the rate of attendance for the performing arts in Taiwan is comparable to the level of attendance found in the United States. Music performances attract over 20 per cent of Taiwan’s population, while attendance figures for contemporary drama, traditional theatre and dance range from 11 per cent to 16 per cent.
In addition, to cultivate an appetite for culture and the arts amongst locals, the government has built five international-standard venues, due to open in 2016. Therefore, the demand for international performing works and training for venue operation is expected to grow in the following years.
(Source: Journal of Cultural Economics, vol.37, no.2)
The visual arts market is robust. According to Sotheby’s, one-third of the transactions in Sotheby’s Hong Kong can be attributed to Taiwanese art collectors. The extent of interest in art collecting extends beyond Asia, reaching Europe and North America. Domestically, over 100 contemporary art galleries, museums and art spaces play host to international art exhibitions generating widespread interest. In 2012, the National Palace Museum of Taipei was ranked as the seventh most visited art museum in the world, highlighting the success enjoyed by the visual arts in Taiwan.
(Source: The Art Newspaper, Section 2, Number 245, April 2013)
The publishing industry in Taiwan is considered mature, open and competitive. Taiwan has over 10,000 publishing companies, publishing 42,579 new titles in 2011, increasing 5 per cent from 40,456 in 2009. Taiwan is also a major rights market in Asia, especially for American and European best-selling books. It is estimated that translated books account for approximately 25 per cent of the market annually. There is a growing awareness from Taiwanese publishers of key Australian authors and bestsellers. As a result, the demand for Australian titles has grown in the past few years, especially for children’s titles and the young adult category. According to the Taiwan Publisher’s Survey 2010, Australia ranked as the ninth rights supplying country in Taiwan.
(Source: Taiwan Publishers Survey, Government Information Office, R.O.C., 2010)
The success of the creative arts in Taiwan is due in large part to extensive government funding and ongoing support received through various government bodies, such as the Council of Cultural Affairs and the National Culture and Arts Foundation. In recent years, growth in private sector patronage has correlated with greater exposure and marketability for artists, improving the accessibility and economic viability of creative industries. Patronage from the Fubon and Jung Tai business groups underscores the growing contribution made by the private sector.
In the wake of changing global cultural trends, contemporary and alternative expressions of art have gained a foothold in Taiwan’s art market. In particular, young Taiwanese are more receptive to different forms of art. Overseas educated Taiwanese play similarly important roles buttressing the growing success enjoyed by less mainstream artists entering the market.
The demand for performance arts come mainly from venue operators/programmers and festival organisers. Aside from the popularity of mainstream artists, reputable companies with striking and unique performances, such as Chunky Move and Idea of North, are garnering greater attention as consumers develop a preference for alternative forms of performance art. Outdoor event organisers are interested in new and innovative productions for family audiences, such as Strange Fruit and Polyglot.
The visual art market in Taiwan, as with the global art market, can be very competitive. The greatest competition in the market is from Asian and in particular Chinese artists. In addition to global interest in China’s explosive art market and Taiwanese buyers’ focus on well-known Chinese artists, Taiwanese buyers are increasingly searching for new and affordable artists from other countries.
In the publishing sector, translated literature continues to sell in Taiwan, especially for film novels. Children’s books, young adult fiction, lifestyle, health and food, motivation and psychology (self-help) remain popular. In addition, there are a number of Taiwanese publishers and literary agencies who have expanded their business into China with extensive networks. Those who want to expand to the China market, should consider working with Taiwanese literary agencies as a stepping stone to opportunities in China.
The biggest competitors for Australian performing artists, including musicians and actors, are from the USA, UK, France, and Japan.
In the rights business, Australia faces strong competition from Japan, the US, UK, France and Korea.
Marketing your products and services
Austrade has offices in Taipei and Kaohsiung where the majority of agents and promoters are located. Austrade’s offices have established strong networks with key players, and on request, can help Australian companies to enter the market by linking them with local agents and raising Australian profiles and local interest.
Most festivals are funded by government through a tender process and organised by the commercial event organisers that have won festival tenders. Interested artists are recommended to work closely with Austrade to get updates on tender opportunities.
To raise the interest of price sensitive presenters, agents and promoters, Australian artists are encouraged to apply for funding from federal and state government arts agencies that facilitate and promote performing arts exporters. These grants are usually available for performing artists to travel to overseas markets. If performing artists can secure funding to cover some of their airfare and freight expenses, the costs to agents and promoters is significantly reduced, making the Australian performers a more competitive and attractive proposition. In addition, Australian artists may seek Austrade’s assistance to seek other opportunities in adjoining markets, which may further reduce the travel costs for agents and promoters and increase their interest and capacity to present the work.
For Australian publishers, it is recommended to work with agents in Taiwan and participate in the annual Taipei International Book Exhibition, which is one of the most important and active book fairs in Asia and offers the opportunity to establish and enhance relationships with Taiwanese publishers and editors.
Links and industry contacts
Government, business and trade resources
Council of Cultural Affairs – www.cca.gov.tw
Kaohsiung Spring Arts Festival – w4.khcc.gov.tw/ksaf2011
National Chang Kai Shek Cultural Centre – www.ntch.edu.tw
Taipei Children’s Arts Festival – www.taipeicaf.org
Taipei Festival – www.taipeifestival.org
Taipei International Choral Festival – www.ticf.tw
Taiwan Cultural and Creative Industries – www.cci.org.tw
Taipei International Book Exhibition – www.tibe.org.tw
Art Taipei – www.art-taipei.com
Australia-China Council – www.dfat.gov.au/acc
Australia Council for the Arts – www.australiacouncil.gov.au/grants
Australia International Cultural Council – www.dfat.gov.au/aicc
Independent Producers Australia – www.independentproducersaustralia.com.au
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