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Cantonese Pop

Cantonese pop, or Canto-pop in short, has set the scene for the youths of Hong Kong since the late 1980s. Local teen idols - young male and female singers - whose popularity depend more on their looks than their voices or talent, dominate the production houses of this up-and-rising entertainment business. Megastars like Andy Lau, Leon Lai, Aaron Kwok, and many more contribute to the success of Asia's own version of Hollywood.

To maintain their position in the highly competitive entertainment business, these stars have to grasp every possible opportunity to promote themselves. They have to participate in games on television programs, contribute to charity, and give interviews. Major concerts are held at the distinguished Hong Kong Coliseum but most other performances are performed at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium. However, some of the local hits are, at times, a repetition of British, American, or Japanese originals.

Ironically, life for most traditional professional artists is hard, as the local society is commercially oriented and way too busy to appreciate serious art. Fortunately, the government and its citizens are slowly learning to value high-quality arts with the growing affluence of the city.

In total, there are about eight prominent professional groups in Hong Kong and hundreds of other amateur companies. The more profound groups are the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Dance Company. The Academy for Performing Arts in Wan Chai, which was established in 1985, is one of the top performing arts schools in Asia. Major cultural events include the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Fringe Festival.

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