What is Cirque du Soleil？
It's international super cultural IP, circus without animals, revolutional masterpiece in the field of theatrical performance. The famous director James Cameron has brought Cirque du Soleil to the big screen back in 2012 with the movie "Worlds away", which is really a legend work.
Cirque du Soleil is going to present more than 300 shows in China next year, which will start from Shenzhen on March, 2018. This is the first time that Cirque du Soleil has made a big foray into the Chinese market, and its introducer Ye Zhong is a entrepreneur in Shenzhen, the president of Rong De Culture Media Co., Ltd.
As an "Iron Lady" with almost 20-years working experience in the field of Movie & Television culture and Investment Industry, Ms. Ye Zhong looks calm and has a clear mind. Everything looks so easy on Ms. Ye Zhong, but behind that we can imagine how tense the working pace in this industry might be, and that must basis on the decades of persistence and hardworking, which must also be one of the reasons that the Hollywood blockbuster won such great reputation this year.
Not only in the field of films, Ms. Ye Zhong and her team of Rong De Culture has been investing in the fields of Animations, Concerts, Music Festival and so on. Right in this year, 2017, they are introducing the international Super IP Cirque Du Soleil and its classic shows "Kooza" and "Toruk" into China. "We are planing to present more that 300 performances in China Mainland, which will start from Shenzhen on March, 2018. This is the first time that Cirque du Soleil enters Chinese Market in such large scale. As a Chinese saying goes, Rong De is the first one who eats the crab, and that is a big crab." Ms. Ye Zhong said, laughing.
Besides the active and brave spirit of exploration, the unique vision mattes. "What we would like to share is the excellent show Cirque presents and also their value. The audiences can feel their ingenuity from all details in the show, and the happinese, enthusiasm and desire in their life, which makes it exactly the positive-energy cultural superfines we need today."
For Ms. Ye Zhong it has a far-reaching social meaning to bring this high-end positive-energy cultural masterpiece into China, because she thinks Rong De as a cultural messager between China and the world.
So far Cirque du Soleil keeps having 11 tour shows each year performing in 3 continents with in total more than 3000 performances and the average attendance rate reaches about 95%, which brings a annual revenue of more than one billion USD. It's a win-win both for reputation and business profit. In front of the optimistic prospect, Ms. Ye Zhong takes up a rational and calm attitude like always, "How to blend the international culture superfines with Chinese local market and accomplish the bonus from commercial perspective is a material question that our team has been studing and exploring."
Therefore, Ms. Ye Zhong and her team decide to abandon the old ticket selling model for the Cirque du Soleil KOOZA Show. They are planning to sell tickets as a special tourism product which will promote value-added service and cover the field of performance entertainment, movie & TV culture, tourism and real estate.
This is a whole new trial for Rong De and also for this industry. "The Wish of Rong De is: To make sure that there will never be lack of capital for all excellent cultural works. And we will always work in this direction with down-to-earth attitude.
Back to 4 year ago: Since 2013 Ms. Ye Zhong and her team has been focusing on investment of Film Entertainment Industry. "Every success starts from learning, simulating, droping the walking stick and then walking by oneself. The first step of the industrialization and professionalization of Chinese Film Entertainment Industry is to learn from Hollywood."
At that time, Chinese film industry was in the midst of a "hot money" frenzy, number of films and box offices rising impressively. In 2013, 638 feature movies were produced, which has increased by 625% compared to 2001. With the rapid growth of the production of chinese movies and the box office, accourding to the data published by SARFT, the box office in 2013 reached 21.769 Billion, increased by 27.51% compared to 2012 and 13.6 times compared to 2005.
From point of view of Ms. Ye Zhong, the chinese film market has a bright future and enormous potential for investment. But every coin has two sides, Ms. Ye Zhong also notice the problem: the devolepment of chinese entertainment industry must have a process, otherwise it will remain traditional workshop-style model which falls far behind the Hollywood Film Industry. What's the reason of the high level of producticity of the Chinese famous director Xiaogang Feng? His succese is based on the industrial production capability of Huayi, Huayi is supporting him with the professional Hollywood process.
We must learn from Hollywood, this is what Ms. Ye Zhong insists. She is leading her team to Hollywood to learn the professional Film industrial production process, as well as finding and investing the suitable projects and teams.
"Actually the chinese investors were resisted by Hollywood back at that time because of the lack of standardization of chinese film market. Our awareness of protecting intellectual property is weak, which is widely criticized. Hollywood is worried that the Chinese were coming to steal the ideas and secrets."
On the premise of not being trusted, Ms. Ye Zhong and her team has difficultly entered Hollywood step by step. At the first beginning Ms. Ye Zhong always carried a "certificate of deposit" with her. "Hollywood didn't trust us. They asked us for a certificate of capital before we talked about the projects. So we always prepared a deposit book to prove our sincerity and capability." Since 2014 Ms. Ye Zhong and her team gradually gained the trust of Hollywood and invested continuously 4 Hollywood film projects including the Oscar nominated film "Hacksaw Ridge" with total ammount of almost 50 Millions USD.
The "Go West" strategie of Ms. Ye Zhong and her team has achieved gratifying results.
Film industry has a very high threshold. From creativity, production, publicity to release, there are so many links, that's a big span. How to use professional fund system to support the capital needs for a film in each phase is the most valuable experience that Ms. Ye Zhong has learned from Hollywood. "For big-budget movies the fund pressure is huge. How to get rid of risk effectively, inprove production and raise efficiency, there are something there worth studying. The complete fund system and copyright protection system are the effective gurantee for the investment of the movies. In China we have Director-Centre System, while in America there is Producer-Centre System. Producer is responsible for the fund and sales issues. Take the producer of "Hacksaw Ridge", one of the films we invested, the former CEO of Fox for example, he is very experienced is his field."
For Ms. Zhong's opinion, to look up to the scale and quantity of Hollywood movies, chinese movies must contact with funds. "Not only in the production , but also in the whole operation of a film, there are so much we should learn from Hollywood." There are many professional service agencies for Hollywood movies, such as completion guarantee company and third-party conllection company, which guarantees that it is fair and professional. Ms. Ye Zhong realized that professionalization plays a very important role in the development process of industrialization of films.
From 2016, Ms. Zhong has been started to use this Hollywood system and production way to build her own chinese IP. For example they are now developing there own IP of Taiji through all kinds of professional service agencies such as brokerage firm and marketing research team as well as the scripwriter team to ensure that they could find the most suitable person.
Investor, intellectuals, filmmaker, Ms. Ye Zhong has so many labels sticked on her, but her favorite one is "practitioner". As a prfessional investor, Zhong believes that instead of just sit and wait, it's important to take action and take the initiative.
After two years of learning from Hollywood and investment she deeply feels that making a movie is just like operating a company, and being a producer is being a leader in a company, who should be like an entrepreneur that has strong capacity of organization and operation. Ye Zhong said: "A good producer is a good entrepreneur."
"There is an old saying among the Taiji players - ten years without going out, which means that one will not go out and tell others he plays Taiji until he practices it alone at home for ten years." Ms. Zhong is impressed by it, "nowadays there is fickle ambience over the whole sociaty, every is hurry to pursue success and to manifest themselves. I think in the time that Chinese economy has developed into this phase, we should all maintain an usual mind and craftman's spirit to produce some good works. The audiences could feel the sincerity in your work and know if the time and money they used worth it. I really hope that our team always insist on investing good movies and projects which are meaning for the Chinese Film Industry.