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Piracy crackdown boosts China's cinema sales

Box office surge has Hollywood eager to entertain world's secon-largest market

Actors dressed as storm troopers arrive for the China premiere of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' at the Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai, China in December 2017.   © Reuters

DALIAN, China After stalling hard in 2016, the Chinese box office is back in gear. Annual ticket sales returned to double-digit growth in 2017, helped by new rules purging pirated movies from the internet, leaving no other option than to pay for new releases.

"I was able to watch any movie for free online just a short while ago," said a 24-year-old corporate employee who works in Dalian. When she was in school, pirated Hollywood titles could be found easily online.

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