Since the Chinese government began relaxing its regulations in 2001, its film industry has experienced a period of rapid growth. In terms of global scale China's film market is now second only to the US.
China has entered into co-production treaties with Canada, Italy, Australia, the UK, India, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The country is renowned for its extraordinary beauty and as it becomes integrated into the world’s economy and global political system, interest in its culture is also increasing. More international production companies are, however, shifting towards exploiting the market by investing in Chinese productions rather than filming foreign projects on location.
Another special feature of China is the proliferation of film cities with magnificent palaces, temples, props and costumes from Ancient China. An example of this is the China Film Group Digital Production Base. It houses 16 studios, 15 of which are able to 'sense' the outdoor weather (they have slide top roofs which can be moved away when necessary). There are underwater shooting range, digital workshops and everything needed for the script to finished film process.
Transformers: Age of Extinction filmed in Hong Kong and on the Chinese mainland in 2013, while features like Looper and Iron Man 3 also shot scenes in China through co-operation with local production companies. Historical fantasy epic The Great Wall recently became the biggest-budget movie ever to film in China as a US-China co-production featuring both US and Chinese actors led by Matt Damon.
All filmmakers wanting to shoot feature films in China must work through a Chinese host studio. The China Film Co-production Corporation (CFCC) would then examine the proposed project before submitting it to the Chinese Film Bureau for approval.
The CFCC directly hosts foreign crews in China to make non-feature films, working with major global media companies on hundreds of documentaries. The location shooting of 2007 Oscar winner "An Inconvenient Truth" was facilitated by CFCC. The Chinese government regards all co-productions as national films, which may be commercially released in China.
Hengdian World Studios offers a multitude of standing sets in the east of the country including a mock-up of Qin Imperial Palace.
Wanda Studios in Qingdao, also in the east, is scheduled to open in mid-2017 and is envisioned as an $8.2bn complex of sound stages, hotels and theme parks designed to boost China's international appeal as a filming location.