As the country's entertainment industry grows, so does the demand for talent management.
As part of the efforts to promote the sector's development, a regulation on entertainment industry agents was released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Sept 16.
In China, talent agents must obtain both a certificate and a license to operate.
Both are awarded by the ministry, and once agents are licensed, their names appear on a licensing database. To qualify, prospective agents must pass an exam offered once a year.
Although a formal education is not always necessary to become a talent agent, it is highly recommended. Applicants should be at least 18 years old and at minimum possess a high school diploma.
The regulation clarifies the process of applying for certificates and outlines the responsibilities of an agent, including setting up auditions, negotiating deals, managing their clients' finances and wages and helping them with endorsements.
Talent agents must demonstrate strong skills in public relations, marketing, human resources, communication and negotiation. It's also important that they learn the laws and regulations related to the entertainment industry and beyond, such as intellectual property.
They are also responsible for keeping their clients on the right side of the law.
"A talent agent should provide legal advice or consultation to their clients and urge them to abide by the law and behave ethically," the regulation said.
It added that agents are forbidden from helping their clients engage in fraudulent acts, such as lip-syncing, and from lending their certificates to others.
Talent agents who violate regulations risk having their certificates revoked.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism also released a plan to arrange classes to help talent agents hone their skills and promote a wholesome entertainment industry.
The classes will cover topics such as ethical practices, the moral standards of celebrities, laws and regulations related to the entertainment industry, and the national performing arts market policy.
The classes will be provided by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Each class will be 45 minutes long, and agents must attend 20 classes.
Last September, authorities suggested comprehensive and targeted measures to rectify irregularities arising from the entertainment industry, such as excessively high celebrity salaries, tax evasion and immoral fan culture.
Efforts have been made to tighten entertainment industry regulations, with stiffer penalties for celebrities who break the law and higher standards set for talent agents. Measures have also been implemented to improve laws and regulations and enhance the education and training of those involved in the entertainment businesses.