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Mark Stocker

An Opportunity to Turn Taiwan into the Cannes of Asia

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An Opportunity to Turn Taiwan into the Cannes of Asia

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Taiwan’s five golden Awards have the potential to establish Taiwan as the arbiter of huaren creative arts, not only bringing economic advantage but also bolstering Taiwan’s national identity.

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An Opportunity to Turn Taiwan into the Cannes of Asia

By Mark Stocker
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There is a golden opportunity in Taiwan’s five golden Awards.

Taiwan’s five golden Awards have the potential to establish Taiwan as the arbiter of huaren creative arts, not only bringing economic advantage but also bolstering Taiwan’s national identity.

This Saturday Taipei will play host to the 28th annual Golden Melody Awards. For those who aren’t familiar with the Award, Golden Melody recognizes outstanding achievement in both popular and traditional music in Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka, and Formosan languages. The Award has been called the Grammy’s of Greater China, an accolade that speaks to the growing influence of the Award throughout the Chinese-speaking (huaren) world. This year’s event is expected to draw a combined live-television and live-streaming audience of over 4 million. Many tens of millions more will catch news of the evening’s happenings via television news, print and online newspapers, and social media on the days following the event. The evening will kickstart the careers of new artists and open doors to commercial opportunities across Greater China, Asia and beyond.

Greater China’s most respected creative industry awards.

Golden Melody is but one of five awards from Taiwan that celebrate achievement in the creative arts. The Golden Horse Awards, the longest running of the five golden Awards, recognizes outstanding achievement in film (now in its 55th year). The Golden Bell Award celebrates the best of television (now in its 52nd year). The Golden Tripod recognizes achievement in journalism and publishing (now in its 41st year). And, last but not least, the Golden Pin Design Award—having adopted the Golden Pin moniker in 2009—recognizes the best of product, visual communication, packaging and spatial design (now in its 36th year).

Taiwan should take great pride in its quintet of golden Awards. The island nation’s long-vibrant creative industry and the foresight of the Awards’ founders have produced what are today Greater China’s most highly regarded creative industry awards. The Awards are held in high regard not only for their longstanding histories, but also for their reputation for objectivity. Taiwan’s golden Awards have established an unmatched confidence among participants, the public, and, in particular, artists and creatives from other nations (especially China) who are drawn to the Awards’ impartiality and the absence of closed door deals. Few awards in Greater China can claim the same.

Arbiter of the huaren creative expression?

With the economic contribution of creative industries growing in Asia, Taiwan’s quintet of awards are now in an enviable position of influence. Much as the Oscars and Grammy’s have a measurable influence over the Western film and music industries, Taiwan’s golden Awards, with their firmly established reputations, are in a unique position of being an arbiter of the best of creative expression in the Chinese-speaking world.

The Chinese-speaking, or huaren market is a loosely defined group of people connected by shared linguistic and cultural heritage. It includes not only Greater China, but also Chinese-speaking populations in Southeast Asia, and now makes up the world’s single largest consumer market—more than 1.5 billion consumers and counting. The ongoing growth and development of this market will lead to unprecedented interest and demand for the creative arts, and unthinkable opportunities for the awards that honor these industries. This is a golden opportunity for Taiwan’s golden Awards.

International success is contributing to local discontent.

While the awards are increasingly well-received in China, Hong Kong and Malaysia, recent years have been witness to voices of discontent here in Taiwan. A small number of commentators have been vocal about their dissatisfaction with the increase of winners from Mainland China. They see recognition of artists from other markets as a sign the Awards aren’t doing their part to support Taiwanese creatives. Some of this discontent has even spilled over to citizens, who are showing increased apathy toward the Awards.

Arguments for greater support of local creatives have merit, but also put at risk the need to recognize the wider value the Awards can play in the advancement of Taiwan’s economy and national identity. Advocating for a return to the past, a time when the Awards were only open to entries from artists from Taiwan, risks isolating Taiwan’s own creative industry from healthy external competition and from the commercial opportunities that are now mushrooming across Asia. Furthermore, returning to a Taiwan-only award format would likely dampen interest in the Awards in other markets, ultimately diminishing the economic contribution of the Awards and the marketing value for Taiwanese artists excited to tap into the billion-plus person huaren consumer market.

The five golden Awards have tremendous potential for economic impact

We need only look to awards such as the Grammy’s—a globally-oriented award that nominated several Taiwanese artists and designers in recent years—to understand the economic value of today’s creative industry awards. Bruno Mars’ performance of the song ‘That’s What I Like’ at the 2017 Grammy’s resulted in a 354% increase in song sales, while Adele’s five Grammy’s led to an equally significant 238% increase in album sales. A study conducted in 2014 further revealed hosting the Grammy’s resulted in an indirect economic benefit of USD80million for the county of Los Angeles.

In Cannes, France, host to the Cannes Film Festival and the Cannes Lion Award—an award recognizing outstanding achievement in creative communications and advertising—the city has built a strong connection with creative industry. In 2014, these events drew more than 4,600 journalists leading to the equivalent of USD40million in advertising value for the city. In the same year, event attendees booked 476,200 nights at local hotels and the city’s restaurants served 677,000 meals. The exposure generated by the events also serves as an immeasurably valuable marketing tool for the city’s tourism.

Five awards make for one golden opportunity for Taiwan

Like Cannes—a city without a local film, music or even television industry—Taipei is in the enviable position of owning five long-standing and well-reputed awards celebrating all five major classifications of creative industry—filmmaking, television programming, music, publishing and design. The success of Cannes should be of encouragement to the governments of Taiwan and Taipei City to further their support for all five golden Awards. Within the next decade, huaren creative arts will witness unprecedented growth and are even likely to go global. The successful positioning of Taiwan’s golden Awards as the arbiters of the outstanding achievement in huaren creative arts will no doubt bring immeasurable benefit to Taiwan.

(This article is reproduced with the kind permission from Mark Stocker. It presents the opinion or perspective of the original author, which does not represent the standpoint of CommonWealth Magazine.)


Mark Stocker or Shi Meng-kang is a columnist on Opinion@CommonWealth. He has been in Taipei for more than 2 decades. He leads the team of DDG, which provides companies in the Great China region service of strategic brand consulting and brand re-designing. His experience gives him an unique perspective to the Taiwanese society and corporate culture. When he's not in office, you will probably find him biking in the mountains.


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