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Technology helps readers turn a new page online

China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-01-14 10:01

A page is being turned on reading habits as technology opens a new chapter for books with people aged 35 and below taking the lead in digital reading, a recent report shows.

Last year, Chinese people read an average of eight books, including more than three e-books, according to figures released on Jan 6 by BigData-Research in Beijing.

The number of e-book readers has grown from 300 million in 2015 to 740 million last year, data shows. More than 86 percent of the readers are younger than 35. Half of them have a monthly income of less than 5,000 yuan ($724).

Meanwhile, the e-book market has been developing rapidly in China in recent years with its market value estimated at more than 20 billion yuan last year, up 21 percent year-on-year. There were 460 million readers of online literature by the end of last year, about 8.3 percent more than the number for the previous year.

Men, who make up more than 55 percent of online readers, prefer to do so using mobile screens, according to the survey.

Romance, fantasy and time-travel are listed as the most popular genres.

To meet demand, various e-book reading services have emerged. Tencent's China Literature, iReader and Alibaba's Shuqi Novels are three of the most popular platforms.

All three provide subscription-based services and allow access to numerous books.

With a 25.2 percent market share, China Literature led the market last year, followed by iReader with 20.6 percent, and Shuqi Novels accounted for 20.4 percent.

Audio books also experienced strong growth last year.

Mobile reading platform Midu Reader, which was released in May 2018, occupied a market share of 9.6 percent, ranked fourth in the e-book service list.

The rising popularity of online literature in China is creating new growth opportunities for businesses in culture and entertainment, according to BigData-Research.

A complete industrial chain, based on the licensing of popular online literature, which consists of its publication and adaptation to films, TV series, games and animated works, has been formed, the institute says.

More than 70 percent of online readers will pay for films and TV series that have been adapted from online novels, the survey says.

In recent years, an increasing number of online novels have been adapted into films, TV series and video games and have enjoyed resounding commercial success. The phenomenal hit web series The Longest Day in Chang'an, adapted from Ma Boyong's online novel, raked in 1 billion yuan last year. Taking viewers to the heyday of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the series claimed a count of more than 5.2 billion views.

Qing Yunian, also known as Joy of Life in English, based on an internet novel dabbling in martial arts and fantasy themes, is one of the latest TV series to be adapted from an online novel and premiered on Nov 26. The view count for the series hit 6 billion, as of Jan 9.

Royal Nirvana, a 60-episode drama, has been streamed in more than 200 countries. Loosely inspired from real events of Song Dynasty (420-479) royal families, the tale chronicles the life of a fictional crown prince.

A report by China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association estimates that the total revenue from copyright licensing of the country's major online reading platforms hit 1.77 billion yuan in 2018, almost double the number in 2017 of 840 million yuan.

 

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