Some observers of China’s global rise conclude that its influence is limited to military and economic capabilities. For example, it’s set to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy before 2030. There is one area in which China lags behind. That’s the use of “soft power”. It’s a phrase coined by the American political scientist Joseph Nye to describe the intangible resources that help a nation achieve its interests by influencing the preferences of others.
Take the popularity of Hollywood films, as a conveyor of American values. They are an unofficial and formidable source of US global influence. But China’s influence could be changing, as suggested by recent developments in media and film, specifically in Africa.