2009 Volume 64 Issue 4 Pages 228-249
This study examines the structure and factors of animation industrial agglomeration in China's Shanghai region, with comparison to the author's prior reported studies. The Chinese animation industry has been growing rapidly, especially in the past few years. However, the industry mostly comprises subcontractors of firms from Japan, the U.S., and Europe. The Chinese government has implemented regulations and subsidies to develop the Chinese market and the industry. The animation industry in China is particularly concentrated in the Shanghai region. The production firms are characterized by their use of labor-intensive processes and their transactional relations with overseas firms. Because of these characteristics, they demand ready access to enormous labor markets and an international airport. The small firms spun off from the parent firm can ensure good transactional relations with parent firms and old colleague firms. In such relationships, mutual trust is necessary to avoid risks of contract delinquency. Firms targeting the domestic market emphasize their proximity to related content industries-their major clients. The laborers' income is unstable and working conditions are severe. Workers acquire skills from co-workers. Most can maintain their jobs through proximity with firms and close relationships with other workers. Because of these factors, the industry in the Shanghai region includes a reproduction system and provides a technical labor force flexibly to firms. Compared with the author's study of the agglomeration structure in Tokyo or Seoul animation industries, this study of the Shanghai region animation industry reveals that the proximity to the international airport is important-especially for firms with international transactions-as are the factors leading to agglomeration in the animation industry. Moreover, the workers' network reproduces the technical labor force and mutually complementary relationships among firms to satisfy labor needs flexibly and instantaneously. The proximity to the related contents industry is another major factor of the agglomeration. The influence by governmental treatment is an important regional factor. The government cuts taxes of animation firms and tolerates late night work. This factor is a specific regional quality of the Shanghai animation industry.