Saturday, June 30, 2007

North Korea as a major player in animation industry? May 16, 2007

North Korea as a major player in animation industry? May 16, 2007
Posted by le monde du voyage in Copyrights, Korea, Animation, Content. trackback
While North Korea more often makes headlines for nuclear tests and programs, economic sanctions, and human rights violations, the nation often described as reclusive and impoverished appears to have an emerging animation industry, according to an article from December 2006 on the Radio Free Asia website. The article indicates that North Korea is becoming a “significant player in the global business of animation and cinema—exporting cartoons throughout Asia, Europe, and North America.”

According to the article, the state-run SEK studio is one of the largest in the world, employing 1,600 staff who work with “state-of-the-art equipment.” The North Korean studio has worked on Pororo from South Korean, and US animated features such as The Lion King and Pocahontas, as well as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.

The article also reports that South Korean animators have been collaborating with North Korean animators to produce some of their animated TV episodes.

The volume of these cross-border transactions (any data on exact numbers??) makes sense on a variety of fronts. From an outsourcing (both economics and supply chain manangement) perspective, North Korea uses the same language, is in close geographic proximity, has cultural similiarities at least historically. Vitally, one would expect enormous cost savings for South Korean firms to outsource animation work to the north. Politically, the South Korean Government has been eager to engage with the North so we could hypothesise at least that firms would face few political roadblocks on the Southern side. Political issues and transparency issues in the North not withstanding, the only key issues left would be quality of workmanship and the ability to communicate clearly to contractors what work is required.

On the quality front, animators featured in the article seem to think there is no problem:

Choi Jong-Il, president of Iconix Entertainment believes the technical skill of North Korean animators is well developed.

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