What are creative and cultural industries?

Cheming Yang

We all know that we need to be innovative regardless of what line of business you are in. You will gain advantage even if you are in the red sea. However, we still hope we can operate in a blue sea. What is regarded as the blue sea business at this moment? Creative and cultural (C&C) businesses are supposed to be most attractive right now worldwide.
Look at China. We can see a flood of film production in China in recent years. Given economists’ pronouncements that GDP growth has slowed to about 5 percent in 2015, China’s theatrical movie business is growing 10 times faster than its GDP. North America’s theatrical business, in contrast, has been growing at a snail’s pace, at an annual rate of just 1 percent since 2002.
Is the film industry representative of creative and cultural industries? In Taiwan, we see the establishment of several creative and cultural parks around the island. They have been mocked as fake creative and cultural busineses in that they are businesses as usual under the disguise of cultural business to gain government incentives for creative and cultural businesses.
So what constitutes creative and cultural businesses in reality?
According to Wikipedia, The creative industries refers to a range of economic activities which are concerned with the generation or exploitation of knowledge and information. They may variously also be referred to as the cultural industries or the creative economy.
According to John Howkins, creative economy comprises advertising, architecture, art, crafts, design, fashion, film, music, performing arts, publishing, R&D, software, toys and games, TV and radio, and video games.
There are also a lot of educational programs dedicated to grooming students specializing in C&C skills. Take a three-year modularised program in Italy as an example. It is an interdisciplinary program. Students will take one module from each of the following three areas: (i) Art and Design, (ii) Music and Drama, and (iii) Media. In Year 3, students will have a choice of completing a practical industry project or writing a dissertation on a topic in the area of C&C industries.
It appears that art in various forms is the core of C&C industries. However, according to Webster Dictionary, culture is defined as the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations. By this definition, all human activities are included. Therefore, it is really hard to say what is real and what is fake. So the fundamental question is whether the industry brings about changes in human knowledge, belief and behaviors. It is hard for the regulating bodies to tease out who is and who isn’t. But for the business itself, it has to be a real one at its core so that it can find itself indeed sailing in a blue sea.


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