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Policies & Funding

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China is still experiencing a heavy transition into a market-oriented economy, with the state wielding significant power through state-controlled ownership and policy interventions. Beijing, in particular, has a high percentage of large business controlled by the state in the architecture/construction sector. 

Funding is mainly inexistent, or of very difficult access. When operating in the cultural field, architects, mostly in SMEs, collect resources (domestically) from real-estate developers or get invited by museums or organizations (also internationally) to exhibit/discuss/promote their designs. An emergent form of sponsoring is happening via  invited competitions  (organized by architecture-media, non-profit s, local governments), allowing some to operate outside the market demands.

Current Chinese Policies

There are many actors and Ministries involved in the architecture sector. In the development of the cultural industries few attention and opportunities have been given so far to innovative architectural designs. Architecture has closer ties with economical development than with cultural development, but at the same time the Ministry of Culture is under pressure to increase the economic impact of the creative industries. A more joined-up approach is clearly required although it may well have to be driven (or compensated for) by the construction industry itself. The Ministry of Science & Technology and ambitious local governments may soon become very strong in influencing on some of China's key creative industries as policy key actors.

Existing Financial Supports

In China public grants application system is very new, going back to 2006. Municipalities such as Beijing and Shanghai have recently established  Creative Industries Promotion Centers which task is to help structures applying to specific project grants and evaluate them. The funds allocated to creative industry projects come from the local financial bureau’s budget. Projects are supervised by a governmental structure - Creative Industry Leadership Group - that selects, administrates financing accordingly to banking, taxing, copyright laws application. In Beijing, architecture is not included as part of the cultural industry  focus, but regulated as part of the construction industry. 

In June 2009 the Hong Kong government announced that budding talent in the creative industry would receive subsidies under a HK$300 million. The funding will come in the form of placements offered by the creative industry, subsidized by the government. And it will be directed outside the film and design industries that have benefited from a government fund announced earlier.