Marceau is in Beijing to promote her latest film "Happiness Never Comes Alone," a romantic comedy that is one of 34 foreign films approved to be shown in China in 2012.
"There is a market to exploit here, but it must be done quickly," Marceau, who is hugely popular in China, told AFP on Monday.
"The American film industry is more accessible, much stronger and much more spectacular, she said.
"We are not into spectacular, our films are 'human'."
Chinese audiences like films with a human element, she said, but such films need more promotion especially if they expect to compete with Hollywood blockbusters.
"It is important to fight because we are going up against dinosaurs that know very well how to promote film," the 46-year-old said of Hollywood's marketing prowess.
"We are a bit weak in this area," she acknowledged.
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"France is never preoccupied with exporting its culture because we are a bit pretentious, we think people will come to us."
For millions of Chinese, Marceau is the incarnation of the elegance and romanticism of France, a nation famed for fashion, luxury and the art of living.
"Despite a very restricted quota . . . with only about three or four French films allowed by China annually, I have been able to get barely one (film) in a year," she said with a satisfied grin.
"The Chinese like my face."