16+1 becomes 14+1 + Marvel heroes unwanted
With its 16+1 format, China wanted to weaken the EU's position in Eastern and Central Europe in the long term. But ten years after the foundation of the economic initiative, disillusionment is now spreading. The economic benefits are limited. Financial aid has turned out to be smaller than expected. Negotiations have been tough, and political differences, such as sanctioned relations with Taiwan and China's stance on the Ukraine war, have led to a serious loss of trust. Most recently, Latvia and Estonia turned their backs on the initiative. Although the Czech Republic is likely to follow soon, a large wave of withdrawals is not likely, analyzes Amelie Richter. Many of the countries maintain relatively close ties with China and hope to attract further investment – and the EU is still not present enough as an alternative.
China's movie industry also shows a tendency to decouple. As our team in Beijing reports, fewer and fewer Western blockbusters are making their way to China. This is partly due to the authorities' non-transparent pre-selection process – only 34 foreign movies are allowed to be shown each year – and partly due to changing tastes. The Chinese have begun to show greater interest in Chinese productions with Chinese themes, preferably patriotic and bombastic, such as the box-office hit Battle at Lake Changjin, the first part of which alone grossed $900 million.