A veteran film observer in Hong Kong is suggesting the mainland market has helped reinvigorated the city's film industry, which had found itself in a dramatic decline at the end of 20th Century.
Ma Fung-kwok is the chair of the Hong Kong Film Development Council, an advisory body to the government on film-related policies and strategies.
Ma has also spent time as a senior executive of the Sil-Metropole Organization, a major film production company in Hong Kong.
He's also credited as an executive producer on several popular mainland movies, including "The Story of Qiu Ju," staring Gong Li, which helped launch her career after the film won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 1992.
Despite its-once booming popularity and potential, Hong Kong's film industry went through a serious decline in the later 1990s, mainly due to rampant piracy, a by-product of the rise in digital technology.
Rising film production costs, as well as the Asia financial crisis, also aggravated the problem.
Ma says Hong Kong's revival in the film sector started in the early 21st century, thanks mostly to the mainland market.
"The recovery of the Hong Kong film industry is related to the change of the general situation. It's about the rise of mainland market. Back to 2006, the total box office on the mainland came in at just one billion yuan. Today, box office receipts are coming in at around 60 billion yuan per year. Hong Kong film professionals are closely involved in helping that happen."
Ma Fung-kwok says one of the biggest steps was in 2004 when mainland authorities brought in new policies on film-related cooperation with Hong Kong through the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.
The CEPA is a free trade deal between the two sides.
Through it, co-produced films between Hong Kong and the mainland are simply now classified as domestic films.
This means Hong Kong productions are no longer subject to the import quota for overseas films, and can be screened in the great number of mainland cinemas.
Mainland authorities have also given the green-light to Hong Kong investment in mainland cinemas, as well as allowing post-production of mainland films to be done in Hong Kong.
Ma Fung-kwok says it all adds up to a revival of the film sector.
"Before the mainland fully opens its film market to Hong Kong, films produced here only had the potential to target the 7 million locals in Hong Kong and overseas Chinese speakers. But through the introduction of the preferential policies from the mainland, we can target a much-bigger market, and that stimulates our film-making enthusiasm. Today it's not uncommon for a film in Hong Kong to have a production budget between 100 and 200 million yuan. That is something we couldn't imagine in the past in Hong Kong"
In 2016 alone, there were 54 films co-produced by Hong Kong film professionals and their mainland counterparts, accounting for over 60 percent of the total co-productions.
Among them, "Operation Mekong," "From Vegas to Macau 3," "Finding Mr. Right 2," and "Yip Man 3" ranked in the top-10 in terms of box office receipts on the mainland.