Acrobatic troupe enters uncharted territory

December 20, 2006 9:14pm CST
On the first anniversary of the People's Republic of China in 1950, the China Acrobatic Troupe was founded as the country's first State-level art troupe. Its first task, assigned by then- Premier Zhou Enlai, was to visit the former Soviet Union on a friendship mission. More than five decades later, the iconic troupe set another landmark: With a crew of more than 700, it became the first among China's dozen large State-level art troupes to be partially privatized. The decision, announced by its management on Monday, is to change the troupe into a shareholding company with a private real estate company holding more than 40 per cent of its shares. The State will continue to hold the majority of the shares. "By introducing a good, private shareholder, the acrobatic troupe will be run like a real business and hopefully enter the mainstream world market," said Li Enjie, the troupe's director. China's cultural sector has always been one of the most carefully managed, but the downside is that the thousands of State-owned art troupes are run as if they were still in the planned economy. They didn't undergo restructuring as other State-owned enterprises did in the past decade, let alone being privatized, so Li's words reflect a change in the mindset of troupe managers.
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