The digital publishing market in China is booming and according to official estimates, there were 353 million online literature readers by June 2017 and more than 90% of them – nearly 327 million readers are accessing ebooks on their smartphones.
According to a report released this week by Chinese research firm iResearch, the market for online literature — fiction stories published on the internet — has grown to 12.8 billion yuan ($1.96 billion) in 2017, up 32.1% from the previous year. The growth is expected to reach 18.2 billion yuan ($2.79 billion) by 2019.
One of the leading companies responsible for the boom is China Literature, China’s biggest online literature platform and a subsidiary of Tecent. The company has a 70% share in China’s online literature market, with 9.6 million online works – primarily in the fantasy, palace-fighting, tomb-raiding, conspiracy, romance genres – created by 6.4 million writers to serve an average of 192 million monthly users.
What exactly is online literature? How is it different from ebooks? The vast majority of Chinese readers are engaged in various platforms such as iQiyi. The novels are serialized and updated almost every day, unlike an ebooks the plots and characters evolve over time and authors can directly engage their audience. The most popular authors are writing between 4,000 and 15,000 words per day. This is different from the the US, where we buy ebooks.