- Jiaflix works with CCTV’s movie channel to provide streaming content
- Helped produce, market Michael Bay’s Transformers 4 in China
- Studios must focus on China year-round, Ganis said
As China’s economy, the world’s second largest, slows, international businesses working there across all sectors have been complaining that they are increasingly unwelcome by Beijing, as demonstrated by the shut down in April of Apple’s iBooks and iTunes movies, and the halt to a video service partnership between Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and Disney.
Earlier in June, American officials and European business executives warned China about what they characterized as an increasingly hostile business environment.
But Marc Ganis, co-founder and managing director of Jiaflix Enterprises, which helps Hollywood studios distribute movies in China, saw the early writing on the wall.
“We had a notion from our work over more than a decade in other areas with the government, that technology had advanced beyond the regulatory,” Ganis, a Jiaflix co-founder, told China Film Insider. “And we expected that the regulations were going to catch up to and then ultimately get ahead of technology.”
“You can’t own a website in China unless you’re Chinese,” Ganis said, noting a stubborn regulatory reality that is unlikely to budge anytime soon. “We’ve seen the direction. The direction is greater emphasis on Chinese content and Chinese concepts; and no branded foreign channels.”
Non-Chinese companies looking to exploit regulatory loopholes to get their content into the rapidly-growing market face a steep challenge.
That’s why, as other international companies, such as Western market leader Netflix, have struggled to gain entry into the China market, Ganis said Jiaflix slowly has been making inroads by teaming up directly with the Chinese government.
In June 2012, Jiaflix announced a joint venture to begin streaming the libraries of major U.S. studios to Chinese movie lovers on 1905.com, the web subsidiary of the state-run broadcaster’s China Movie Channel, or CCTV 6.