Veteran Taiwan star looks to China as the future

Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:19am EDT
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By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - For years, many of the hottest entertainers in China have come from Taiwan and Hong Kong, places fans believe make for edgier performers. But veteran Taiwanese singer and actor Alec Su thinks this will change.

Su, still going strong two decades after starting his career and who is mobbed by fans whenever he sets foot in Beijing and other Chinese cities, believes the sheer size of the audience in mainland China is becoming a huge influence on the music scene.

"If you look at the population, there is a huge difference between Taiwan and Hong Kong and the mainland. Slowly but surely the mainland will be seen as a major market," Su told Reuters in a rare interview with foreign media.

"I believe that the influence of the mainland will only get bigger. They have the most people who will watch films, or listen to music," he added.

Hong Kong and Taiwan stars have been seen by mainland Chinese as cooler and more avant-garde than their domestic counterparts, who have to tread a cautious creative line to avoid getting into trouble with the Communist government.

Taiwan's Jay Chou in particular is massively popular in China, his face adorning countless advertisements.

But mainland pop singers such as Li Yuchun, winner of a television talent show in 2005, have already made inroads in an industry traditionally dominated by "outsiders."

"I think there's a lot of very good mainland singers, very creative. What they are writing about, their lives, have changed vastly because of China's opening up," Su said.   Continued...