How should we judge the success of Shenzhen’s cultural industry?

According to released statistics, in 2011, Shenzhen’s cultural industry accounted for 8% of the SEZ’s GDP, with a total 87.5 billion (875亿) yuan of goods and services. More importantly, cultural industry in Shenzhen grew at a rate of 20.5%, making it one of the strongest sectors of the local economy. Dafen and OCT Loft are often promoted as exemplars of successful cultural industry. Nevertheless, I don’t know how to interpret these statistics because when I visit some cultural industry sites — Dawang and 518, for example, I’m underwhelmed. begging the question, how universally successful is Shenzhen’s cultural industry or do these statistics more accurately reflects the determination of and concomitant investment by the government to push the economy in a certain direction?

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Today, for example, I visited the Century Handicraft Culture Plaza (世纪工艺品文化广场), which was one of the earliest attempts to transform Shenzhen’s economy from industrial manufacturing to creative industry. Continue reading