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Asian stars in Cannes to woo Western record market

CANNES, France (AFP) ― Asian stars flew into the French Riviera resort of Cannes at the weekend for the global music industry’s annual MIDEM pow-wow, in a state-backed bid to woo Western markets.

Chinese authorities have sent one of the country’s biggest rising stars, Ruhan, to MIDEM to promote her debut album, “Time to Grow”, which features tracks sung in both Chinese and English.

It is the first time that Beijing has brought an artist to the MIDEM fair.

Taiwan also came to town with one of Asia’s biggest rock bands, Mayday, which played Sunday night to a sold-out crowd of Chinese-speaking fans who travelled from all over Europe to attend the gig.

Ruhan was catapulted into the international spotlight when she sung the theme song for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Her album, for which she told AFP she helped write some of the lyrics, is the first to be released as part of a Chinese government drive to build up the country’s entertainment sector.

“Asia is really opening up to the world. They are confident, bold and exporting their music,” Anne de Kerckhove, director for entertainment for the show organisers Reed MIDEM told AFP.

Bill Zang, vice president of the Shanghai Synergy Culture & Entertainment Group which is piloting the government scheme, told a press conference Sunday that there is interest in Chinese music outside of the region.

But Keith Ferreira, the head of Silva Screen records which is distributing Ruhan’s record in Europe, told AFP that Asian artists will take time to penetrate the international market.

“It’s going to be a long road,” he said.
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