China overtook Japan as the world's second-biggest cinema market in the first quarter of the year thanks to the breakneck growth of the nation's film industry, but its overwhelming reliance on the box office showed both its huge potential and immaturity, according to industry experts.
Last year, China's box-office receipts grew 33.3 percent to 13.15 billion yuan ($2.08 billion) and the industry's market value reached 17.25 billion yuan.
Continued growth in the first quarter of this year made China surpass Japan in box-office receipts, said Mike Ellis, Asia-Pacific president of the Motion Picture Association of America, at a conference on Thursday, without elaborating.
The number of China's cinema screens has increased from 4,753 in 2006 to 10,700 in 2011, according to Ellis.
"Last year, China added on average eight screens in a single day. No nation in the world grew at that fast pace," said Ellis.
The US film industry "is not growing, but internationally the market is doing terrifically well, here and throughout other nations", Ellis told China Daily.
Box-office receipts in the United States and Canada totaled $10.2 billion in 2011, down 4 percent compared with 2010, according to MPAA statistics.
But the US share of the global market grew from 57.3 percent in 2010 to 58.4 percent in 2011.