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Author Topic: My understanding of China stock photo market  (Read 6516 times)

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« on: February 21, 2016, 04:02 »
+5
At this Sunday afternoon, after uploaded several photos to Getty Images, ShutterStock and Alamy, and before the important match between Beijing Basketball Team vs. Xinjiang, I decided to write something about China stock photo market especially for stock photographers outside of China, to help you understand the market here, and to maybe help me understnad more of you.

I'm drafting and below points come to my mind so far:

  • stock photo market in China
  • Major players of this market
  • Whose works are selling here
  • demands and best selling
  • local photographers
  • piracy

I'll finish my words on my blog at http://www.tukusheying.com/info/es_t_20160221050618.html and then post it here.  You're welcome to reply in this thread with any topics or viewpoints, I'll try to include or discuss it in my words as well, thank you.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 04:40 by williamju »


« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2016, 07:26 »
+1
Quote
..............I'm going out for dinner..............

I like your style.

« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2016, 09:36 »
+7
DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is only my point of view, and I learn my English in China, so there might be language understanding issues, or limitations of my understanding of China market.

ABOUT ME

I'm a hobbyist stock photographer contributing to several agencies including but not limited to Getty Images(traditional gettyimages.com and microstock--iStockphoto), ShutterStock, Alamy, Fotolia, VCG(local China agency), and etc. I am based in Beijing, and I've been to a few countries like USA, UK, Australia, and etc., I get to know many stock photographers all over China via my blog, which makes me heard their stories in stock photo market.

OK, let me begin my little report here.

Stock photo market in China

    like in your countries, stock photo market is a small niche market in China
    commercial photo market is big, or huge, but stock photo is quite small
    according to Canon CEO, there were over 70 million DSLR sold in China, which means a lot of photographers.
    commercial photography including wedding, convention, baby are probably most consumed here.

Major players in China market

    Creative: VCG(Getty distributor), Quanjing, Gaopin, DFIC, 1tu, HelloRF(ShutterStock), Fotolia, and etc.
    Editorial: VCG, DFIC, Xinhua, Quanjing, 1tu, and etc.

Whose works are selling here: almost everyone, all traditional,most of micro, either direct or via distributor.

Demands and best selling:

    people images: both Chinese and foreign people images are selling well
    roads: car companies are buying road images for their commercials, big demands, high prices
    cityscape: international cities and landmarks are selling well
    video: not much compare to still, but growing

Local photographers: I did annual local stock photographer survey for a few years, you can click this link to see the results of each year  http://www.tukusheying.com/info/es_t_20160122103213.html  Two points to mention: 1.two photographers claimed their income for 2015 are more than USD150,000. 2.an artist claimed he/she got more than USD15,000 from one of his content during 2015.  As the survey is anonymous, I can not tell they're true or not.

Piracy: yes, their are piracy problems, and there are a lot of cases going on each year, as far as I know VCG and Quanjing and some production companies sued many companies who use piracy copies and won most of them.

I left the picture and misc points in my blog, you can read them in the link above.

« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2016, 10:11 »
+3
Thanks for sharing your viewpoint. Very interesting to hear about the Chinese market from someone who's there.

« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2016, 10:25 »
0
Thanks a lot, very interesting to read!

Do you have any insight into why it seems like Western stock companies are not doing that well in China? Is it lack of local sales and marketing? At least from what I can tell from the Shutterstock map widget, I basically never get sales on the Chinese mainland, and that's even though many of my best-selling images in both RF and RM are either Asian-themed (Asian models, Asian travel images) or internationally-recognized landmarks that sell everywhere else.

Very different situation for Taiwan by the way, where I get a quite a few RM sales. My Asian model imagery also sells well in the U.S. for diversity marketing / marketing to Asian-Americans.

« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2016, 21:46 »
+3
Thanks a lot, very interesting to read!

Do you have any insight into why it seems like Western stock companies are not doing that well in China? Is it lack of local sales and marketing? At least from what I can tell from the Shutterstock map widget, I basically never get sales on the Chinese mainland, and that's even though many of my best-selling images in both RF and RM are either Asian-themed (Asian models, Asian travel images) or internationally-recognized landmarks that sell everywhere else.

Very different situation for Taiwan by the way, where I get a quite a few RM sales. My Asian model imagery also sells well in the U.S. for diversity marketing / marketing to Asian-Americans.


On the contrary, western companies are doing quite well here, but it is via distributors.  VCG is the sole distributor of Getty Images, HelloRF is the sole distributor of ss, and I guess most of their sales are western content.  I assume you are referring to the sales map of ss which never shown any sales in mainland China, that's because the official website(www.shutterstock.com) was blocked here, so ss doesn't have any IP from here.  But instead, ss show them in the Atlantic I think.  As for the RM content, I don't know, maybe it is because Asia is very big, although you are using Asian models but they are obviously different from authentic local Chinese people.  And another reason is the market trends here is very different from yours, the commercials and designers here are left behind from western market, people with white background are selling well here.

« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2016, 23:23 »
0
Thanks for sharing.

« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2016, 04:59 »
0
Hi Williamju,

Thanks a lot for sharing, this is very interesting especially considering what is currently going on with VSG in our end of the world (Corbis sale, $100 mil investment in Getty). I clicked your links - do you have options to change the language to english? I'm looking forward to your final piece about the asian market.

Kind Regards,

Kasper Ravlo.

« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2016, 05:39 »
0
...
Major players in China market

    Creative: VCG(Getty distributor), Quanjing, Gaopin, DFIC, 1tu, HelloRF(ShutterStock), Fotolia, and etc.
    Editorial: VCG, DFIC, Xinhua, Quanjing, 1tu, and etc.

...
William, thank you, it is very interesting indeed! Could you tell us a bit more about Chinese stock photography market? I think many Western based contributors would be interested to know:

Is it possible for foreign photographers to contribute to Chinese agencies? I am particularly curious about "true" Chinese agencies, because I assume Chinese SS/iStock/Fotolia distributors already have our content anyway. Do you have to be Chinese national/resident? How do they handle taxes for foreign contributors? Do you have to keyword images in Chinese? Could you submit images with English keywords? What are the typical ways to get payout money, especially for foreign contributors? Can they use PayPal (or any other service available to Western photographers) with automatic CNY>USD/EUR conversion?

Some of these questions I tried to research myself, but I would really appreciate if you can tell us more. Specifically, I went to check out one of the agencies you mentioned (Quanjing). They seem to have English language, but the registration page is still in Chinese. However, they did show images of Sydney, when I entered "Sydney" in English as a keyword in the search box. That is encouraging.

« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2016, 19:43 »
0
Hi Williamju,

Thanks a lot for sharing, this is very interesting especially considering what is currently going on with VSG in our end of the world (Corbis sale, $100 mil investment in Getty). I clicked your links - do you have options to change the language to english? I'm looking forward to your final piece about the asian market.

Kind Regards,

Kasper Ravlo.

sorry, so such function at present.

« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2016, 20:09 »
0
...
Major players in China market

    Creative: VCG(Getty distributor), Quanjing, Gaopin, DFIC, 1tu, HelloRF(ShutterStock), Fotolia, and etc.
    Editorial: VCG, DFIC, Xinhua, Quanjing, 1tu, and etc.

...
William, thank you, it is very interesting indeed! Could you tell us a bit more about Chinese stock photography market? I think many Western based contributors would be interested to know:

Is it possible for foreign photographers to contribute to Chinese agencies? I am particularly curious about "true" Chinese agencies, because I assume Chinese SS/iStock/Fotolia distributors already have our content anyway. Do you have to be Chinese national/resident? How do they handle taxes for foreign contributors? Do you have to keyword images in Chinese? Could you submit images with English keywords? What are the typical ways to get payout money, especially for foreign contributors? Can they use PayPal (or any other service available to Western photographers) with automatic CNY>USD/EUR conversion?

Some of these questions I tried to research myself, but I would really appreciate if you can tell us more. Specifically, I went to check out one of the agencies you mentioned (Quanjing). They seem to have English language, but the registration page is still in Chinese. However, they did show images of Sydney, when I entered "Sydney" in English as a keyword in the search box. That is encouraging.

I believe there are some foreign contributors working directly with local agencies, but most are via distributors, because there are many things to deal with like you mentioned above.  As most of the contributors are local Chinese, I don't think local agencies have the motivation to allocate their resources for a few foreign individuals.  But they do have staff like channel relationship for companies.  And yes, most of them can work with English, but Chinese is preferred.  International payment is not a problem, as you can see Chinese are buying all over the world and still the US government owe China a lot of debt.  We can use Paypal, Visa, WesternUnion, bank transfer, and etc., but I doubt they will do it especially for a very small portion of foreign contributors.

w7lwi

  • Those that don't stand up to evil enable evil.
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2016, 21:14 »
0
How would the new censorship rules, just issued by the Chinese government, impact the sale of foreign images over the internet in China?

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/20/business/media/new-chinese-rules-on-foreign-firms-online-content.html?ref=topics&_r=0


« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2016, 22:32 »
0
How would the new censorship rules, just issued by the Chinese government, impact the sale of foreign images over the internet in China?

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/20/business/media/new-chinese-rules-on-foreign-firms-online-content.html?ref=topics&_r=0


I can't open the link you posted.  But yes, there are regulations and laws for the published content.  So it's better be creative, not political, not religious, even sexy images are acceptable, I mean sexy, not pornographic.

« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2016, 22:40 »
0
How do you submit your content to SS? I think SS contributor website is also blocked.

« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2016, 02:56 »
0
Thanks a lot, very interesting to read!

Do you have any insight into why it seems like Western stock companies are not doing that well in China? Is it lack of local sales and marketing? At least from what I can tell from the Shutterstock map widget, I basically never get sales on the Chinese mainland, and that's even though many of my best-selling images in both RF and RM are either Asian-themed (Asian models, Asian travel images) or internationally-recognized landmarks that sell everywhere else.

Very different situation for Taiwan by the way, where I get a quite a few RM sales. My Asian model imagery also sells well in the U.S. for diversity marketing / marketing to Asian-Americans.


On the contrary, western companies are doing quite well here, but it is via distributors.  VCG is the sole distributor of Getty Images, HelloRF is the sole distributor of ss, and I guess most of their sales are western content.  I assume you are referring to the sales map of ss which never shown any sales in mainland China, that's because the official website(www.shutterstock.com) was blocked here, so ss doesn't have any IP from here.  But instead, ss show them in the Atlantic I think.  As for the RM content, I don't know, maybe it is because Asia is very big, although you are using Asian models but they are obviously different from authentic local Chinese people.  And another reason is the market trends here is very different from yours, the commercials and designers here are left behind from western market, people with white background are selling well here.


Good points and very interesting information regarding Shutterstock. You're right about the models of course. Even if born and grown up in Asia, decades in the U.S. will change style and look. Not to speak of how my own perspective is culturally influenced.

« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2016, 04:05 »
0
...
Major players in China market

    Creative: VCG(Getty distributor), Quanjing, Gaopin, DFIC, 1tu, HelloRF(ShutterStock), Fotolia, and etc.
    Editorial: VCG, DFIC, Xinhua, Quanjing, 1tu, and etc.

...
William, thank you, it is very interesting indeed! Could you tell us a bit more about Chinese stock photography market? I think many Western based contributors would be interested to know:

Is it possible for foreign photographers to contribute to Chinese agencies? I am particularly curious about "true" Chinese agencies, because I assume Chinese SS/iStock/Fotolia distributors already have our content anyway. Do you have to be Chinese national/resident? How do they handle taxes for foreign contributors? Do you have to keyword images in Chinese? Could you submit images with English keywords? What are the typical ways to get payout money, especially for foreign contributors? Can they use PayPal (or any other service available to Western photographers) with automatic CNY>USD/EUR conversion?

Some of these questions I tried to research myself, but I would really appreciate if you can tell us more. Specifically, I went to check out one of the agencies you mentioned (Quanjing). They seem to have English language, but the registration page is still in Chinese. However, they did show images of Sydney, when I entered "Sydney" in English as a keyword in the search box. That is encouraging.

I believe there are some foreign contributors working directly with local agencies, but most are via distributors, because there are many things to deal with like you mentioned above.  As most of the contributors are local Chinese, I don't think local agencies have the motivation to allocate their resources for a few foreign individuals.  But they do have staff like channel relationship for companies.  And yes, most of them can work with English, but Chinese is preferred.  International payment is not a problem, as you can see Chinese are buying all over the world and still the US government owe China a lot of debt.  We can use Paypal, Visa, WesternUnion, bank transfer, and etc., but I doubt they will do it especially for a very small portion of foreign contributors.

In other words, do you think it is impractical / challenging for individual US/EU contributor to sign up directly (not through Western representatives) with Chinese agencies?

« Reply #16 on: February 29, 2016, 05:48 »
+1

In other words, do you think it is impractical / challenging for individual US/EU contributor to sign up directly (not through Western representatives) with Chinese agencies?

I think it will be challenging, the local agencies doesn't have the motivation to deal with all the things you mentioned.  But it is not impossible.


 

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