chapter  6
The emergence of private production companies
Pages 13

Under Deng Xiaoping’s more liberal approach to cultural policy after 1979 (see Chapter 3), the film and music industries began to revive rapidly. However, official disregard for the economic side of cultural production during the 1980s resulted in surprisingly far-reaching administrative disengagement from many of the newly emerging economic activities. Processes of institutional drift took root in both industries, and in this climate of increasing friction between the governing institutions and the economic realities, the new private economic actors actively established their own adaptive informal institutions, setting off processes of institutional layering. These processes evolved differently in the two industries, highlighting the fact that two different political economic environments emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. In the music industry, the hesitancy of the bureaucracy enabled early private entrepreneurs to build their own informal institutional arrangements and networks, which began to seriously weaken Party-state control, but the CCP maintained its centralised administrative control over the film industry so that private economic activities could only emerge through institutional loopholes.