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Social media, theme parks and Kung Fu Panda led China growth

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The new engines of China's economy are humming as social media, movie theaters, karaoke bars and art galleries shrug off the nation's slowdown, according to a new report from the nation's statistics authority.

[BEIJING] The new engines of China's economy are humming as social media, movie theaters, karaoke bars and art galleries shrug off the nation's slowdown, according to a new report from the nation's statistics authority.

First-quarter revenue from cultural industry companies rose 8.6 per cent in the from a year earlier to 1.67 trillion yuan (S$345.88 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday. The report based on surveys of 47,000 companies is the first such quarterly tally and comes as the agency strives to improve coverage of the "new economy".

Revenue from "cultural information transmission services", which include Internet companies and some satellite and telecommunication providers, surged 27.8 per cent from the first quarter of 2015. Firms in "cultural, leisure and entertainment services" including travel agencies, parks and karaoke bars, saw sales jump 25 per cent.

China is increasingly relying on consumption, services and high-technology sectors to help fuel growth as traditional manufacturing and heavy industries face a sharp slowdown.

Cultural and art services such as performance centers and museums reported a 25 per cent gain, while radio, television and film sales rose 24.2 per cent. One illustration of the boom: "Kung Fu Panda 3" grossed about US$150 million in the nation in February.

A separate report from the China International Cartoon & Animation Festival in Hangzhou showed box office for domestic animated films soared 78.6 per cent last year to more than 2 billion yuan, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.

The NBS report showed the fastest growth for cultural revenue was in the country's central region, with a 12.7 per cent increase. The eastern region, including megacities Beijing and Shanghai, accounted for the majority of sales, which rose 7.9 per cent.

The northeast region, hit hard by the slump in heavy industries, saw a 5 per cent drop.

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