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Socheat Chea, a Cambodian student with big dreams, wouldn’t attract much attention if he
walked down a street in his country since he doesn’t talk a lot and is a bit shy around strangers.
His classmate, Edgar Moreno Pena, who is from Venezuela, is more adept at socializing. He has
a vocabulary of more than 200 Chinese words, tells shopkeepers on Beijing streets pia
nyidian (give me a bigger discount) and uses Chinese-language food-delivery apps on his mobile phone.
“I often do shopping at Taobao and JD,” he said, referring to China’s two most popular online shopping websites.
Although the two foreign students have few similarities in their perso
nal backgrounds, they share a common goal at the Shenzhou Institute in northern Be
ijing: They are trying to learn from Chinese teachers how to design, build, operate and maintain satellites.
“I go on trips twice a year. I usually do not buy souvenirs on the road, because they are q
uite similar and less creative, which I can easily find at the stalls of Shanghai’s Town God Temple.”
Netizens in China joke online Yiwu’s residents need
not buy souvenirs at other places as all such articles originate in their hometown.
As Shi sees it, there is immense scope to reinvent the concept of souvenirs in general and Chinese souvenirs in particular.
Souvenirs, he said, should be made in various formats－a local snack, curries from In
dia, black tea from Sri Lanka, dried apricots from Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, or Spanish Iberian ham.
They could also be in the form of a delicate little gift of a key ch
ain, handicraft or fridge magnet, but a special local product would be ideal.
He also underlined the significance of a strong audience base in the fu
ture. “It’s about developing the audience for Chinese animated films – to create projec
ts that are more popular with broader appeal,” he said. “The most important thing is to tell a good story with i
nteresting characters, in a way that is fresh and new, different and exciting for the audience.”
Minkoff said the Chinese animation industry has grown vigorously over the past dec
ade. “I’ve seen improvements made in the quality of the animation, the production and the filmmaking.”
With the coming of the 5G era and virtual reality, he thinks it opens up new space for creativity and accessibility. “The changes in techno
logy are going to continue to improve and make it possible to make really interesting, different kinds of films, an
d put the tools of filmmaking and animation into more people’s hands, which I think would be very good,” the director said.
Besides the animated adaptation of Wolf Totem, Minkoff revealed to
China Daily he is working on a “secret” project inspired by Chinese culture. “The movie is bas