As China enters the World Trade Organization (WTO), speculation is rife among executives in the international film industry as to future prospects in the mainland market. How far and how quickly will the market open? Can Chinese filmmakers survive direct competition from Hollywood? Will Hong Kong products have the same status as Hollywood products or will they be granted wider access? One distribution executive for a major Hollywood studio believes that even though many Chinese leaders are worried about a cultural invasion from the West, other trade issues are more significant. He confidentially surmises:

The market will open more quickly than most people think because culture seems like a big concession, but it’s so easy to give away. It’s not like steel or wheat or household appliances, where tens of thousands of jobs are at stake. [Chinese leaders] can buy time to improve the competitive position of other industries by giving way early on film import quotas.