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China's Next Big Export: 3D Porn!

The first major Chinese 3D porn flick is a hit: Last week, the softcore 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy earned Hong Kong's biggest single day box office of all time, even beating out 2009's Avatar. 3D pornography is yet to take off in America, but the high numbers in Hong Kong suggest that China will take an early lead in blue 3D films.

Now, it's still traditionally-conservative China, so Sex and Zen is a softcore affair: According to Gizmodo, the porn film has full-frontal nudity, but no penetration. However, the country has a couple reasons to be open minded about promoting porn.


First, China is eager to build its film industry, whose $1.5 billion box office puts it at about one-seventh the size of Hollywood, which pulls in $10.6 billion. Last year, Avatar was China's highest grossing film, bringing in $204 million, while the highest Chinese-made movie, Aftershock, took in about half. China's Film Bureau recently told the BBC:

"The variety of Chinese films isn't rich enough," it said. "The development of genres still remains at the stage of simple imitation and duplication.

"A 10 billion yuan [$1.5 billion US] box office... is still far from the value of a movie world power and is still far from keeping pace with the country's economic growth," its report said.


In one day, the homegrown 3D Sex and Zen grossed $340,000 across 73 screens. To China, 3D pornography could be its golden ticket to the big leagues. China has also grown more comfortable discussing sexuality, having just opened its first official sex museum in 2009.

Beyond box office sales, China could become a serious leader with porn outside of the theater and on the go. As I've written in the past, 3D mobile phones and tablets are the biggest growth area for porn. Americans aren't flocking to sleazy porn theaters any more, but they are downloading and streaming it on their iPods and iPads. China has a great opportunity to be a chief importer of adult movies, even if it stuck to translating its softcore theater productions to the small screen.

Photo courtesy of Arcadius // CC 2.0
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