China’s Domestic Anime and Manga Market Surpasses 2.6 Trillion Yen in 2018

Compared to 2.15 Trillion Yen from Japan’s Anime Market in 2017

Fox Spirit Matchmaker


An article from Yahoo! Japan states that, according to a report from a Chinese research company, the Chinese anime and manga market in 2018 has grown to 171.2 billion yuan (about 2.6 trillion yen or US$26.4 billion). The latest figures from Japan, from the 2018 Anime Industry Report that chronicled the anime market in 2017, reported that the anime market had grown to 2.15 trillion yen (US$20.4 billion). The figures for 2018 will be released in December 2019.


Unlike the Chinese report that combines the Chinese animation and manga market, there is no report from Japan that combines the anime and manga market, nor does the manga report combine the domestic Japanese market and the international markets like the Japanese anime report does. For the sake of comparison, the domestic report values the manga industry in Japan at 441.4 billion yen (US$4.2 billion) for 2018, and in the USA, the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation reports the manga market is valued at US$130 million.


The increase in the Chinese market has almost doubled since 2013, where the industry was valued at 88.2 billion yuan (1.3 trillion yen, or US$12.4 billion). This has been attributed to the rise of consumer sites in China that freely publish Chinese made series, and the growth of a younger demographic that is more interested in anime-style animation and manga.


Nezha film sceenshot


One of the biggest sites is run by Tencent, who posts Chinese-created manga to the site for free. The creators of the series get paid by the amount of views the series get. The site reportedly has over 150 million registered members, which is more than the population of Japan, and half the population of the United States. The series that get the most views on the site are then made into anime from Tencent Animation. Over 200 published works on the site have been read a billion times according to the Anime and Manga Business Manager for Tencent, speaking to Yahoo! Japan.


Growth from the domestic industry has also come from a government level, with the Chinese Government placing guidelines over how overseas anime can be broadcast and sold. In 2008, a restriction was placed on showing overseas anime on TV during the primetime hours of 5PM - 9PM. This move spurred a growth in domestic productions to meet broadcast demands for anime during those hours.


In 2015, the series Death Note and Attack on Titan, among 38 other series, were banned in China to “protect the healthy development of youth”, the Ministry of Culture official Liu Qiang told a local newspaper (via Kotaku).


Spirited Away


Another avenue of growth in the domestic Chinese market come from Chinese animated films that have been taking advantage of the growth of the film industry in China and its growing middle-class. While Spirited Away made shy of US$70 million in China when it was released for the first time in June 2019, according to Box Office Mojo, Chinese-backed Nezha has already made US$641 million since its release in July 2019, making it the 8th highest grossing film of 2019 (ahead of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World) before its release in the United States on August 29.


Who knows how much the Chinese anime and manga industry will grow in the future, especially with series such as Fox Spirit Matchmaker being produced and Tencent announcing 47 animated works in production!


Source: Yahoo! Japan, AJA, Box Office Mojo, Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, Kyodo via Kotaku, AJPEA


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Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs the YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza and posts photo of his travels on Instagram.

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