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Tech plays prominent role in book fair

By Wang Ru | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-08-22 07:09

5G technology is featured at 26th annual event in Beijing this week

Celebrated Tibetan author A Lai participated in a special interview on Wednesday, the opening day of the 26th Beijing International Book Fair. More precisely, it seemed not to have been A Lai who was doing the interview, but a holographic projected image of him.

With the support of 5G and holographic projection, people saw A Lai's image in a special zone for "5G+reading" at the book fair being interviewed by a reporter, but he was actually miles away in another room. The internet speed ensured that the conversation went smoothly without any delay.

5G technology is a highlight of this year's BIBF, the world's second-largest international book fair which runs through Sunday. People want to explore how this new technology will play a role in reading, writing and publishing.

A Lai says he expects to see the application of such technology in this business. The interview he participated in shows how future readers worldwide could possibly take part in book launches by watching projected images of authors.

Fairgoers can also experience the combination of 5G and augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality applied in reading in the special "5G+reading" zone. On Saturday there will be a seminar featuring Chinese writer Liu Zhenyun and playwrights Mou Sen and Shi Hang, during which Liu's image will be projected with the help of 5G.

"5G+reading will promote digital reading, and it will create many possibilities in the future," said Zhang Yong, director of China Unicom's institute of network technology.

This year's fair is said to be the largest in its history. The overall exhibition area covers 106,800 square meters, attracting over 2,600 exhibitors from 95 countries and regions. More than 300,000 of the latest domestic and international books can be viewed, and more than 1,000 cultural activities will be held.

The activities include exhibitions, lectures, seminars, salons, book launches and many others.

One day before the opening of BIBF, the 13th Special Book Award of China was held in Beijing to honor 15 foreign writers, translators and publishers who have helped spread Chinese culture.

Romanian translator Ioan Budura was one of the award winners. He said he felt encouraged by the honor and wanted to "continue supporting the communication between China and Romania" in the future. Romania is also featured as the guest of honor of the fair this year.

A Beijing International Publishing Forum was also held on Aug 20 to discuss how to improve the quality of publishing content and promotion.

A Hong Kong pavilion has also been opened at the book fair despite the special administrative region's recent troubles.

"It is Hong Kong's ninth visit to BIBF, and we want to exchange Hong Kong's creations with people in the publishing business and with readers through this opportunity," said Lee Ka Kui, chairman of Hong Kong Publishing Federation Limited.

Lee admits the recent chaos in Hong Kong has negatively affected publishing there since many retail bookstores have closed and much fewer people attended the Hong Kong Book Fair that was held on July 17-23. He hopes violence will cease and communication will continue.

This time, 66 Hong Kong companies brought over 2,000 books and other works. One feature of their pavilion is a creation corner showcasing many STEM books - about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"It seems STEM books are quite popular in the world now, and we want to follow that trend," Lee said.

The pavilion also contains an artistic and cultural zone exhibiting some Cantonese books.

"I hope we will bring more Chinese mainland writers and books to Hong Kong, and vice versa," Lee said.

 Tech plays prominent role in book fair

A woman browses through books at the Beijing International Book Fair on Wednesday. More than 2,600 exhibitors from 95 countries and regions are participating in the five-day event, which opened on Wednesday.Zhang Wei / China Daily

(China Daily Global 08/22/2019 page4)

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