On April 12th, 2019, EST, the 22nd Harvard College China Forum was held in Boston, the USA, with the theme “A Global Community, One Shared Destiny”.
At 13：00 on April 12th, 2019, EST, Harvard College China Forum-Fireside Chat was held in Harvard-Yenching Institute. Wang Xiaohui, Chief Content Officer and President of Content Group of iQiyi, Yu Zheng, co-founder of Huanyu Entertainment Co., Ltd., screenwriter and producer, Lian Jie, CEO of Perfect World Pictures and Zhang Xiaolong, the famous actor, etiquette director and producer were invited to give a speech on entertainment sub-forum.
As the most popular drama on 2018 TV series market, Story of Yanxi Palace became the focus on the forum. Producer Yu Zheng elaborated the ideas and business logic behind the drama and said that “To express and inherit our traditional culture in TV series and films is what we always do and it is the mission of our generation.”
Cultural and emotional logic behind the most popular drama
Yu Zheng gave the data to illustrate the popularity of Story of Yanxi Palace worldwide. It ranked top 1 on Google search list. Clicks on the platform in China’s mainland were over 20 billion. Audience ratings of Hongkong TVB channel were as high as 39.2%. The drama has been broadcast in more than 90 countries, elected as the best TV series overseas 2018 by Variety magazine, and it was the only Chinese TV drama being elected. All these proved that how popular Story of Yanxi Palace was.
Behind the data, you can find that works of Huanyu Entertainment Co., Ltd. are deeply influenced by Chinese traditional culture, and there are displays of traditional craftsmanship, such as embroidery, Kunqu opera, melting iron fireworks in Story of Yanxi Palace, ink paintings in Untouchable lovers and Peking opera in Winter Begonia. Yu Zheng said: “Huanyu is committed to describing Chinese traditional culture in its works since we see the craftsmanship handed down for hundreds of years is disappearing. More and more young people have no concern for and know nothing about our traditional culture. To express and inherit our traditional culture in TV series and films is what we always do and it is the mission of our generation.”
As for the content based on traditional culture, Yu Zheng thought Story of Yanxi Palace was popular due to the good story, fine production and, more importantly, the personality and setting of characters in it. Roles were not obsolete any more; they changed with the aesthetic standards of the audience. Wei Yingluo, the heroine of Story of Yanxi Palace, feared no evils, which was totally different from heroines in the past. To some extent, she represented the feminine consciousness, where women were independent, did not rely on males, and had clear targets and actions. These are the well-recognized values among the audience all over the world.
Overseas strategy and business logic of Huanyu Entertainment Co., Ltd.
As for business, Yang Le, CEO of Huanyu Entertainment Co., Ltd. said, Huanyu always pioneered in occupying the platforms and making plans for the overseas market. Promoted Chinese TV series to overseas market, Huanyu also brought Chinese music and literature abroad for global audiences. Cooperation between Huanyu and overseas platforms was not limited to copyright trading but in many other ways.
Yang Le also talked about Huanyu’s plan in the overseas market in the interview. Now, Huanyu was transforming from an entertainment company influencing Asia to one that had global influence. Works of Huanyu has covered Southeastern Asia, Japan, Korea and even Australia, Europe and America, from overseas Chinese to multiple groups. Yu Zheng and Yang Le said: “What is unique for a nation, is also precious for the world. Huanyu will pioneer in Chinese cultural transmission, and we invite global partners to join us in production and transmission of good TV series and films.”
Harvard College China Forum is committed to creating a profound platform for thinkers and practitioners all over the world through gatherings and meetings of elites and talents and improve the mutual understanding and cooperation between China and other countries. Zhou Xiaochuan, the previous Governor and Party secretary of the People’s Bank of China, Li Zhaoxing, the previous Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd, the 26th prime minister of Australia, Ma Yun, founder of Alibaba Group, Lei Jun, President and CEO of Xiaomi Technology, famous writer Yan Geling, leaders and elites in various fields home and abroad have been invited to the forum and gave speeches.