The Taipei International Comics and Animation Festival generated a record NT$250 million (US$7.96 million) during its five-day run, with many attributing the boost to a policy aimed at stimulating culture-oriented spending by young people.
This year’s event, which ended on Monday, set a new record for the fair, event organizer the Chinese Animation and Comic Publishers Association said.
The result surprised many exhibitors at the show, said association secretary-general Kao Shih-chuang (高世樁), who did not provide the previous revenue record.
The festival is usually held during the winter vacation for students after the Lunar New Year holiday, and benefits from young customers spending the money they received as gifts in red envelopes during the holiday.
This year, it was held before the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts on Thursday, meaning there was no red envelope money to boost spending.
That is why, in addition to a 35 percent increase in exhibitors to 800 this year, revenue also benefited from a Ministry of Culture policy aimed at encouraging spending in the cultural sector, Kao said.
Starting from Jan. 20, about 1.5 million residents aged 16 to 22 were eligible to claim NT$1,200 in digital vouchers, known as “culture points,” to spend on cultural activities or related venues.
The points, each equivalent to NT$1, can be used at participating independent bookstores, record stores, music stores, live music events and venues, cultural parks, bazaars and screenings of Taiwanese films, the ministry said in December last year.
Although not all products at the event could be purchased using culture points, Kao said the organizer had encouraged exhibitors to accept the vouchers, which helped spur sales.
Chang Yin-tzu (張尹慈) — a staffer at anime and manga distributor Muse, most of the customers of which are in the age group eligible for the culture points — said the vouchers served as an equivalent to the red envelope cash young people usually have after the holiday.
Chang said her company promoted the use of culture points online and set up scanning facilities to accept them at the festival, leading to the early sellout of popular works such as Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End and Attack on Titan on the second day of the fair.
A spokesperson for Kadokawa Taiwan agreed, saying that the company had anticipated a slower market this year at the fair, because the event was held before the Lunar New Year holiday.
With the culture points, the company’s revenue from the show was up 15 percent compared with last year, the spokesperson said, adding that its customers, mostly high-school students, spent about NT$2,500 per person at its stand.
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