Crowdfunding could boost China's cultural industries, a sector identified as having potential for development under the government's new "Internet Plus" program.
The Internet Plus initiative, announced by Premier Li Keqiang at the parliamentary sessions in March, aims to integrate mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things with modern manufacturing. With the rise of mobile Internet, the program could open up a wealth of other opportunities.
Since 2010, China's network hardware infrastructure, such as 4G technology, has developed rapidly. By the end of 2014, there were an estimated 649 million Internet users, 557 million of whom use their cell phones to get online.
With this many users, any industry could benefit from Internet Plus, Fan Zhou, dean of the culture development institute of the Communication University of China, said.
Fang was speaking during a meeting on the opportunities and challenges of "Internet Plus", during a Wednesday forum on cultural industries. He spoke of the need for a change of "attitudes and implementation" to fully realize the opportunities afforded by the digital age.
The film industry, for example, should exploit social networks like Weibo and Wechat to interact with audiences and promote forthcoming productions.
"In the near future, films could have the unprecedented attention of audiences who are also investors," Fan said.
Last year, e-commerce giants Alibaba Group and JD.com, and search engine Baidu all launched crowdfunded entertainment services.
"In the past 18 months, over 100 productions for film and television have been financed through crowdfunding," he said. "This way, blind investment is reduced and the rate of return improved."
In the past year, many traditional industries such as publishing and advertising have developed and released Internet applications. The value of digital publishing in 2014 increased 31.2 percent to 254 billion yuan (about 41 billion U.S. dollars). The industry is transforming as practitioners have no option but to respond to the emerging forces of online innovation.
Helene Zhuge, chief executive officer of Blue Ocean Network, said highly skilled and talented people were needed to bring together the culture industry and the Internet.
"Innovation is the ability to overcome uncertainty during rapid development," she said.