The General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP, 新闻出版总署) has issued “Some opinions on accelerating the expansion of our country’s news media and publishing industry abroad” (关于我国新闻出版业走出去的若干意见）. Such “opinions” are in effect binding decrees on a particular policy issue.
The “Opinions” reaffirm the goal of “creating a group of powerful, internationally competitive ‘dragonhead’ corporations for expansion abroad” and “educating a cohort of media and publishing talent that can operate toward the outsideat a high level (外向型高层次的).”Specifically, by 2015, there should be 100 thousand “internationalised news media and publishing personnel.”
The aim is to develop a differentiated, localised media network with comprehensive coverage that will “centre on developed and neighbouring countries” but “use developing countries as a base” and “rely on the Chinese-language overseas market,” presumably in the initial stages. This is to be accomplished by a mix of means: setting up branches and offices, newspapers and magazines abroad, as well as through direct and indirect investment.
Various incentives are available to accomplish this: export credits, concessional loans, targeted subsidies, bonuses, and insurance subsidies (probably available across sectors) can be applied for up to 50% of the costs of overseas brand acquisitions, but small and medium enterprises from Central and Western China and the Northeastern rust belt can apply for up to 70%. “Market exploration” projects in Africa, South America, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central and Southeast Asia enjoy priority and can also get up to 70% in various subsidies. Sector-specific subsidies are also available for the translation and publication in foreign languages of works promoting socialism, popularising China’s achievements and Chinese culture.
The document also lists specific measures. These include supporting the publication of foreign-language periodicals and publications, including those by joint ventures or private companies. (This may be somewhat unusual, as private publishers officially do not exist in China; they are obliged to purchase ISBNs from state publishers and go through the latter’s vetting procedures.) Also, the evaluations of high-level managers of state media will henceforth consider how successful they have been in expanding abroad.
The expansion of Chinese-generated content that can be linked to “soft power” aspirations is not the sole concern of the “Opinions:” they also outline measures to reward printing companies that are successful in getting overseas orders and to promote the overseas sales of online games and the export of “cultural labour” (perhaps dancers and acrobats).