Cultural and creative industries are working with government agencies to launch the Taiwan Comics Dream Park (台灣漫畫夢工廠), a project to make the nation a major player in Asia’s thriving markets for manga, animation, computer game design and cosplay exhibitions.
Based in Hsinchu County’s rural townships, officials said the park is aimed at attracting local and international talent, and “is to be one of the leading centers for comic books and cartoon animation in Asia.”
Aimed at boosting the tourism sector and revive the local economy, the plan has received NT$300 million (US$10 million) in funding from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
The plan calls for establishing a “Comics and Animation Museum,” an institute for training students and for organizing competitions, facilities for youth summer camps, and exhibit halls for cosplay and comic book fairs.
Led by the Hsinchu County Government, the project team announced a range of programs on Tuesday to launch the International Comics Festival and Summit Conference, which will take place from tomorrow until Friday.
Wang Chin-tsang (王金倉), head of the county government’s Transportation and Tourism Department, said the project will be based in locations along the county’s Neiwan Line, a 27km-long railway from Jhuzhong Station (竹中) in Hsinchu City to Neiwan, a rural town surrounded by forests.
Neiwan, a town populated mostly by Hakka, is the hometown of Liu Hsing-ching (劉興欽), an art illustrator and inventor who is known as Taiwan’s “King of Cartoons” for his popular comic publications during the 1970s.
All nine station stops along the Neiwan Railway are to serve as local bases for the Taiwan Comics Dream Park, with planned facilities and infrastructural designs to be focused on the local culture.
Wang said he is confident the Dream Park will help Hsinchu County become a world-renowned cultural destination, that could draw up to 5 million tourists each year.
To mark the start of the program this week, leading Taiwanese and international comic book and animation artists will go to Neiwan for a summit conference.
The conference will also feature lectures and workshops for students and youngsters, as well as a design competition for new talents, titled “Make Your Comic Dreams Come True.”