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Next Week China to Overtake US as World’s Largest Cinema Market, IHS Markit Says

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China building cinema screens at a rate of 27 per day for 2016, its highest yet; Box office revenue in China topped $7 billion in 2015, up from $121 million in 2003

According to screen growth patterns for 2016, the number of Chinese cinema screens will overtake the number in the US on 16 November 2016. For the first time, the US will not be the world’s largest cinema market in terms of screen base.

The analysis released today by IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions, is part of IHS Technology’s Cinema Intelligence Service.

At the end of September 2016, China had 39,194 cinema screens, compared to an estimated 40,475 in the US.

“The rate that China has been building cinema screens is very high,” said David Hancock, Director of Film and Cinema Analysis at IHS Technology. “In the first nine months of this year, China added just over 7,500 new cinema screens, continuing a trend seen over the past few years. China has been building cinema screens at a rate of over 10 a day for the past five years, rising to 27 a day this year.”

In 2003, China opened the market to overseas exhibition groups and laid the foundations for growing its cinema sector, although growth has come in mainly from domestic investment. The same year, Chinese box office revenue was $121 million (about the same size as Austria’s box office revenue). In 2015, Chinese box office revenue topped $7 billion -- growth of over 5,700 percent. “This is an interesting story all the more remarkable for the rapidity of China’s ascent to the top spot in the market,” Hancock said.

China’s box office revenue to top US by 2018

Single-digit box office revenue growth in China during 2016 pushed back forecasts for when box office sales in China will overtake the US. However, China will overtake the USA in box office revenue terms in 2019, according to IHS Technology forecasts.

About the data

The screen data for US and China at end 2015 are from the official sources from each country. The third quarter data is taken from the IHS Technology digital screen database, built up over 10 years and including all global digital screens. The projection to the end of 2016 is a linear projection using the growth so far this year as a base.

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About IHS Markit (

IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 key business and government customers, including 85 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions. Headquartered in London, IHS Markit is committed to sustainable, profitable growth.

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