BEIJING, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Ever since watching his very first Jackie Chan movies 17 years ago, Bakary Coulibaly has become a fan of Chinese movies and TV dramas.
"The only way to get Chinese movies back then was to buy DVDs, which were all old titles rather than new ones or TV series," Coulibaly, a young Malian studying in China, recalled.
In stark contrast, his family back in Africa nowadays can simply turn on the TV and watch a variety of the latest Chinese movies and TV series dubbed and subtitled in French.
In recent years, China's domestic movies and TV series have gone global with diversified themes and higher production standards, appealing to more people from different cultures.
While the popularity of Chinese movies and TV plays reflecting traditional Chinese culture continues to grow, productions based on the life of contemporary Chinese people and their values are also gaining appreciation by audiences worldwide.
A batch of TV dramas are all making inroads into overseas markets: "Nothing But Thirty," a Chinese hit TV drama, revolves around the lives of three vastly different women who take matters into their own hands as they come across different challenges in life in their 30s; "You Are My Glory," a romance TV drama tells the story of a young couple falling in love again after an encounter.
"There used to be a lot of historical and costume dramas that went overseas, but now there are a series of excellent reality-based dramas that are well-received abroad," said Zhang Yiwu, a professor of Chinese literature at Peking University, citing the diversified themes of Chinese TV series nowadays.
Genres such as martial arts, modern life and urban romance dramas are popular among African audiences, said Zhang Jun, director of the Chinese channel from StarTimes, a Chinese media group that has become one of the most influential digital TV operators in Africa.
Domestic sci-fi movie "The Wandering Earth," a critically-acclaimed box office hit in China, stunned overseas audiences with its world-class production standard.
Moreover, overseas audiences, especially those in developing countries, are also showing interest in TV dramas about poverty alleviation in China's rural areas.
Ways of cooperation have also been expanded. "Deer Squad," a children's animation presented by iQIYI in cooperation with Nickelodeon, was aired on Nickelodeon International in August 2020. Foreign movie and TV studios also choose to buy remake rights for some popular domestic dramas, in addition to pre-purchasing exclusive overseas distribution rights.
At the same time, Chinese companies have been exploring new channels for movies and TV series to reach global audiences through the internet.
For instance, StarTimes has established subsidiaries in more than 30 African countries, including Rwanda, Nigeria, and Kenya, and has begun digital TV and online streaming operation in most of them. And in July 2020, iQIYI designated its Beijing office and the Singapore office as the duo-headquarters for iQIYI's global operations.
"The increasing number of Chinese movies and TV series going overseas reflects the improvement of China's overall national strength, cultural soft power and cultural influence," said Rao Shuguang, president of the China Film Critics Association.
"Audiences not only see kung fu but also a modern China and its development," said Coulibaly.