A colonized empire: Reflections on the expansion of Hong Kong films in Asian countries
Hong Kong is a colony, and a third-world peripheral ‘country’ in the contemporary world system. Given this historical and structural marginality, Hong Kong has nevertheless created an ‘empire’ in the film industry at least among Asian countries. Such a phenomenon indeed poses itself as an anomaly to theoretical discourses on imperialism, particularly on media imperialism (Leung, 1993). According to the tenets of media imperialism, the unidirectional nature of international media flows closely reflects the hierarchical imbalance of world powers. The underdevelopment of the media industry in third world countries is therefore considered a result of the overwhelming media penetration by the core powers and habitual media dependency of the periphery countries (Schiller, 1979; Armes, 1987; Tomlinson, 1991). Thus, with the domination of Western media, the development of an indigenous media industry is necessarily impeded. However the history of Hong Kong’s film industry shows the opposite scenario.