BEIJING, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has increased financial support for the cultural industry, latest data has indicated.
By the end of September, the lender extended 90 billion yuan (14.29 billion U.S. dollars) in loans to the country's cultural industry. This is up 36.32 percent from the end of last year, according to the bank.
The ICBC, the country's largest lender by market value, plans to issue at least 20 billion yuan in loans to the industry each year over the coming years. Outstanding loans for the sector are expected to exceed 150 billion yuan at the end of 2015.
The bank has also forged partnerships with the Ministry of Culture and other cultural authorities and has created new financing channels to support the development of the industry.
Culture is the new "pillar industry" of China and the country expects the sector to account for more than 5 percent of its gross domestic product by 2015, according to the industry's 12th Five-Year Plan issued earlier this year.
China's cultural market contributed 3 percent to the overall economy in 2011.