ASEAN animation industry set to take off

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Echo Planet, Thailand’s first 3D animation movie,is playing in the cinemas now.

ASEAN markets are the fastest-growing for both consumption and production of digital content globally and will further expand as a hub for digital content development, Thailand’s Software Industry Promotion Agency said.

Economic volatility in the euro zone and the US have lowered demand there, leading to a major shift in spotlight to Asia and especially ASEAN countries, Wiwat Wongwarawipat, a board member of the agency, said at a seminar in Bangkok on August 14.

ASEAN countries would benefit from increased outsourcing of time-consuming animation projects, which are expensive in the homelands of the world’s biggest animation studios in the US, Japan and South Korea. Digital developers from these countries are increasingly looking to set up or partner with animation studios in ASEAN for outsourcing and co-productions.

Japan’s Nomura Research Institute has recently ranked Thailand as the top destination within ASEAN for digital content and animation. The institute suggested that Japanese investors should put their money into co-productions with Thai software developers and businesses to develop and produce digital content because of the country’s creative-skilled human resources combined with competitive labour costs.

Meanwhile, South Korea has moved aggressively to Malaysia and Singapore for animation co-productions.

Japan is looking for more co-production in Thailand to pave the way for expansion to Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, and Thailand’s own cooperation with Malaysian studios could open the doors to Indonesia and Brunei, Nomura said.

However, the ASEAN countries are experiencing growing competition from India. According to a recent report by consulter PricewaterhouseCoopers, India’s animation industry is likely to expand by about 23 per cent in the next years and reach around $1 billion in value by the year 2014.

The animation industry in India  is driven by the same factors as in ASEAN – a large base of a highly skilled labour force and low cost of production. The government’s role in supporting the animation industry adds to the growth. Industry centers are Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai.

Apart from India, China is aiming to boost its domestic animation industry and has set up a development plan until 2015 calling for Chinese animators to churn out 30 animated films annually by 2015, as well as setting goals for building industrial parks and cultivating new animators and brands, China’s news agency Xinhua reported. The center of the Chinese animation industry is Shenzen.

Student’s work at Pixity, a startup project of a new animation academy set up in Bangkok in 2011.

Background

Much of Asia’s animation production since the 1960s has been tied to foreign interests attracted by stable and inexpensive labour supplies. For nearly fourty years, Western studios have established and maintained production facilities, first in Japan, then in South Korea and Taiwan, and now also in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Indonesia and China. Even North Korea has earned a reputation of having established a good-quality digital animation industry. The economics of the industry made it feasible for Asia to feed the cartoon world, to the extent that today about 90 per cent of all US television animation is produced in Asia.

The usual procedure is for pre-production (preparing the script, storyboard and exposure sheets) to be done in the US or other headquarter countries, after which the package is sent to Asia for production (drawing cels, colouring by hand, inking, painting and camera work).

The work is sent back for post-production (film editing, colour timing and sound). Offshore animation has led to the creating and nurturing of a local industry, as an infrastructure has been built up, equipment is put into place and skills are transferred.

An emerging trend in the Asian animation industry is the increasing focus towards production of local animation content for television as well as production of animated movies. An increasing number of Asian animation studios are giving importance to owning and protecting animation content by investing in intellectual property protection mechanisms.

For example, Thailand-based Kantana Animation Studios has spent 170 million baht for producing the country’s first 3D animated film, Echo Planet, which is playing in cinemas now. The company generated its own intellectual property allowing it to build international recognition.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Echo Planet, Thailand’s first 3D animation movie,is playing in the cinemas now.

ASEAN markets are the fastest-growing for both consumption and production of digital content globally and will further expand as a hub for digital content development, Thailand’s Software Industry Promotion Agency said.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Echo Planet, Thailand’s first 3D animation movie,is playing in the cinemas now.

ASEAN markets are the fastest-growing for both consumption and production of digital content globally and will further expand as a hub for digital content development, Thailand’s Software Industry Promotion Agency said.

Economic volatility in the euro zone and the US have lowered demand there, leading to a major shift in spotlight to Asia and especially ASEAN countries, Wiwat Wongwarawipat, a board member of the agency, said at a seminar in Bangkok on August 14.

ASEAN countries would benefit from increased outsourcing of time-consuming animation projects, which are expensive in the homelands of the world’s biggest animation studios in the US, Japan and South Korea. Digital developers from these countries are increasingly looking to set up or partner with animation studios in ASEAN for outsourcing and co-productions.

Japan’s Nomura Research Institute has recently ranked Thailand as the top destination within ASEAN for digital content and animation. The institute suggested that Japanese investors should put their money into co-productions with Thai software developers and businesses to develop and produce digital content because of the country’s creative-skilled human resources combined with competitive labour costs.

Meanwhile, South Korea has moved aggressively to Malaysia and Singapore for animation co-productions.

Japan is looking for more co-production in Thailand to pave the way for expansion to Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, and Thailand’s own cooperation with Malaysian studios could open the doors to Indonesia and Brunei, Nomura said.

However, the ASEAN countries are experiencing growing competition from India. According to a recent report by consulter PricewaterhouseCoopers, India’s animation industry is likely to expand by about 23 per cent in the next years and reach around $1 billion in value by the year 2014.

The animation industry in India  is driven by the same factors as in ASEAN – a large base of a highly skilled labour force and low cost of production. The government’s role in supporting the animation industry adds to the growth. Industry centers are Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai.

Apart from India, China is aiming to boost its domestic animation industry and has set up a development plan until 2015 calling for Chinese animators to churn out 30 animated films annually by 2015, as well as setting goals for building industrial parks and cultivating new animators and brands, China’s news agency Xinhua reported. The center of the Chinese animation industry is Shenzen.

Student’s work at Pixity, a startup project of a new animation academy set up in Bangkok in 2011.

Background

Much of Asia’s animation production since the 1960s has been tied to foreign interests attracted by stable and inexpensive labour supplies. For nearly fourty years, Western studios have established and maintained production facilities, first in Japan, then in South Korea and Taiwan, and now also in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Indonesia and China. Even North Korea has earned a reputation of having established a good-quality digital animation industry. The economics of the industry made it feasible for Asia to feed the cartoon world, to the extent that today about 90 per cent of all US television animation is produced in Asia.

The usual procedure is for pre-production (preparing the script, storyboard and exposure sheets) to be done in the US or other headquarter countries, after which the package is sent to Asia for production (drawing cels, colouring by hand, inking, painting and camera work).

The work is sent back for post-production (film editing, colour timing and sound). Offshore animation has led to the creating and nurturing of a local industry, as an infrastructure has been built up, equipment is put into place and skills are transferred.

An emerging trend in the Asian animation industry is the increasing focus towards production of local animation content for television as well as production of animated movies. An increasing number of Asian animation studios are giving importance to owning and protecting animation content by investing in intellectual property protection mechanisms.

For example, Thailand-based Kantana Animation Studios has spent 170 million baht for producing the country’s first 3D animated film, Echo Planet, which is playing in cinemas now. The company generated its own intellectual property allowing it to build international recognition.

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