>> Dafen village in Southern China has been churning out fake Van Goghs and Da Vincis since the country opened its economy to the world. But 40 years on and this place, like much of China, is struggling with an identity crisis. Dafen is keen to follow Beijing's directive and move up the economic value chain using innovation.
But it's discovering that change is hard, even with loads of talent on hand. Ma Chun Yen is one of 8000 artists working in Dafen. She can whip up a copy of Starry Night in a day.>>
> There are now other places putting out replicas. And even though Dafen had an early start, that is still a problem. That's why we're trying to change, trying to produce more original works of art.>> But success has been elusive so far. Today, only 300 of the village's artists are focused on original works.
>> 40 years ago this week, China opened its economy to the world. It wasn't long before Dafen felt the change, transforming from farming village into a booming hub for art reproductions. In its heyday, it produced 75% of the world's copycat paintings. But with the global economic downturn in 2008, demand dried up.
The government now has a new vision for Dafen, as a center for original art. It spent $15 million on an art museum to promote local artists and built nearly 300 apartments to try and attract more talent. The transformation couldn't come at a better time as countries like Vietnam and India pile in to the market.
Chen Ji Yung is one of them. With many buyers still associating Dafen with low end knockoffs, Chen says is it will take time for the world to catch on to its creative potential.