A trio of ministers, accompanied by a fleet of senior industry names, were on hand Tuesday in Taipei to give their official blessing to the opening of the fourth running of the Taiwan Creative Content Fest (TCCF) – and to underline the Taiwan government’s investment in soft power.
Cheng Wen-tsan, VP of the [government executive branch] Executive Yuan, Taiwan’s Minister of Culture, Shih Che, and a minister without portfolio were accompanied by Chunghwa Telecom’s chairman, Kuo Shui-Yi, head of TAICCA Homme Tsai and Dominique Boutonnat, president of France’s National Center of Cinematography and the Moving Image, on stage at the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, a former-tobacco factory site that has since been redeveloped.
“Nowadays we are investing not only in semiconductors and heavy industry, but also in media and content,” said Cheng. He confirmed that some NT$10 billion ($310 million) of government funding has been approved for the “1 Plus 4T Content Plan” and will be released over four years.
In a classic example of public-private partnerships, state cash is being supplemented by further financial commitments from Taiwan’s three major cable-telecoms-internet groups through deals signed last week with Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA). On stage Tuesday, Chunghwa Telecom confirmed it would be providing NT$3 billion ($93 million).
Finance, new agencies and international bilateral relations are all being developed or enlarged in service of a media and entertainment industry that is seen as creative, desirable and supportive of Taiwan’s cultural, branding and diplomatic outreach policies.
“We have abundant culture and history, an important position in Mandarin-language culture and [now] a new digital role,” said culture minister Shih. This comes as the impact of COVID recedes, throwing up new opportunities, but also causing other threats to loom on the horizon. “The world is reconnecting, TCCF is expanding. [These efforts represent] protection of our culture. We want to showcase our strength, cultural diversity and freedom.”
Freedom and democracy were also on the lips of Boutonnat who was on hand to support France’s own international soft power push in Asia.
“There are many similarities between these two places,” said Boutonnat, referring to both Taiwan and France’s proactive government institutions involved in film, TV and media tech development. “We also share a common philosophy, one that says freedom is essential to creativity – industrial, political and cultural.”
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