Innovators in the digital entertainment and tech industries from China and Southern California converged in Pasadena last week ready to do business, just as soon as their governments sort out their economic differences.
The Silicon Dragon conference at the Pasadena Convention Center last Wednesday was all about putting deals together. But with leaders exchanging tariffs and pundits talking of a potential full-blown trade war, this year’s event had a more cautious tone than usual, according to event founder and author Rebecca Fannin.
“The deal makers, the Hollywood-China deal makers…were saying that there is a pause now and there is some concern about deals, and so we’re in this, almost like a holding pattern,” she said.
But there was still plenty of excitement about the untapped potential in the massive and growing digital entertainment industries in both nations, Fannin said. Just maybe not quite yet.
“Certainly the deal makers and the producers and the content creators who were at the event (Saturday) and spoke at our event did talk about how China is a great opportunity for Hollywood movie makers, TV, also video streaming and the new kinds of content that have come out,” Fannin said.
“We’re all connected,” she said. “I think everybody definitely wants to work together and see the benefits of working together.”
State-sponsored media in China cited one of the event speakers, Pierrepont Productions CEO Julia Pierrepont in an article posted Sunday, in Western Hemisphere time. It was already Monday in China.
The director and producer shared her insights on the changing entertainment market in China. She is currently in the middle of several cross-border projects.
“It’s important for people to understand is there’s still some interesting opportunities in China, you just have to understand what the needs of the Chinese are and not try to force your needs on them,” Pierrepont said, according to the article on china.org.cn.
“They’re less interested these days in co-productions, and more interested in doing original Chinese productions,” Pierrepont continued. Rather than merely importing American-style content, “They want to bring in Americans to help them up their game.”
The Silicon Dragon will be back in town for a fifth run next year, Fannin said.
“We will definitely have our Pasadena event again around this time toward the end of July and we’re looking forward to it,” she said. “And I think, based on the feedback we got, that a lot of other people are looking forward to it as well.”
Next month, Fannin takes Silicon Dragon to an August 13 conference in Shanghai, China.