That was the conclusion of government officials, academics, and business leaders - including several working in the creative industries - participating in a panel discussion on the topic of "Creating and promoting partnerships, including in creative services."
They spoke in Beijing on the opening day of the Global Services Forum (GSF). The Forum is being staged by UNCTAD in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China and with the Beijing Municipality.
A series of speakers noted that partnerships among services firms, especially small ones, enable firms to operate more efficiently, expand their marketing reach, and transfer management know-how.
Education was identified as an important element in building a competitive services sector. "How many young people from developing countries can access world-class education?" Talal Abu-Ghazaleh of the TAG Foundation asked. "However, today, partnerships among universities using modern information and communication technology (ICT) services allow us to bring quality education to everyone in all corners of the world."
Several speakers provided examples of successful services partnerships. "Farmers have modernized and streamlined production" through partnerships with services firms in Uganda, said Amelia Kyambadde, the country's Minister of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives. Other successful examples mentioned included information technology firms in India partnering with business process outsourcing firms in the Philippines, and partnerships between Chinese and European health service providers.
Some panelists cautioned that not all partnerships are successful. They said more information is urgently needed to better understand partnership dynamics. "We are missing statistics on services all over the world," remarked Pascal Kerneis, Managing Director of the European Services Forum.
Creative services are an important emerging sector
Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, Minister of Culture, Arts, and Heritage of Qatar, described creative industries as successful sectors in Qatar alongside the tourism industry. "Our experience in cultural exchange and interaction between nations and cultures confirms that this kind of communication leaves its imprints on relations as a whole, emphasized the Minister. Qatar continues to make large investments to develop a favorable environment for the creative economy and consistently supports creative services by organizing festivals, forums, exhibitions and conferences for the intellectuals, writers and artists.
With thousands of cultural sites, the city of Istanbul is now supporting creative industry firms in creating jobs and revitalizing the local economy, said Ismail Erturk of Istanbul Commerce University. Culture is an economic resource, he added.
Creative industry partnerships are critical for promoting and facilitating exports, speakers said. They noted that products such as film, music, arts, software, and crafts depend on a variety of inputs combining production, financing, and marketing to bring products to market and successfully export them. Often government involvement in the form of support for artist guilds and cooperatives is a vital contribution.
Fred C. Y. Wang, Chairman of Salon Films Studio (China Hong Kong), said ICT services have opened new opportunities for young people to create, produce, and distribute digital films and creative content. "Greater awareness of these possibilities is needed through improved education programmes for young people," he stressed.
Yong Xiang, Vice-Dean of the Institute for Cultural Industries, Peking University, spoke about the importance of cooperation among national and international cultural enterprises to develop and research cultural industry projects, to construct the incubating base of cultural industry projects, to dredge financing and investing channel for cultural industry.
Alexander Mora, President of the Chamber of Technology, Information and Communication (Costa Rica), highlighted Costa Rica is one of the largest exporters of high technology in the world and is becoming an engine for the development and creation of intellectual property.
And Ping Li, CEO of the International Federation of Multimedia Associations (Canada), told the meeting, "Multimedia art content together with the Internet services have transformed the market."
During the Global Services Forum in Beijing a partnership agreement was announced between UNCTAD and the Istanbul Commerce University to strengthen the Creative Economy Center of the university.