The Stones will play Shanghai, but China hasn’t rolled out the red carpet – Kathleen E. McLaughlin
From the San Francisco Chronicle (link):
When the Rolling Stones take to their first mainland China stage Saturday, their audience isn’t likely to look much different than one in San Francisco. Rather than to a sea of Chinese faces, the band will play to an international crowd.
A unique mix of censorship, daunting bureaucracy and an immature commercial market make China — a potentially lucrative place to tap a new, hip audience — into something of a wasteland when it comes to the type of big concerts that generate viewers on pay-per-view in the United States. The Western rock and pop acts popular among Chinese rarely brave the tangle of red tape it takes to win approval for China performances. Thus the acts that do play here tend to target foreigners by default. Promoters say, 65 to 70 percent of the 8,000-plus crowd at the Stones’ Shanghai show will be foreign expatriates, the fans most willing in China to spend up to $375 to see the rock band.
“Why play China? There’s no value in playing the Chinese market now,” said Simon Napier-Bell, a longtime British music agent.