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Web novels take readers into a whole new world

By MEI JIA | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-24 07:05

Some stories include hundreds of chapters, and fans are willing to pay for access to these fantastical journeys

Web novels take readers into a whole new world

Both study magic in school, wield it in battles and transform from vulnerable students into super sorcerers.

But Linley Baruch is not Harry Potter.

While Potter largely hails from the Western world of traditional print publishing, Baruch comes from the Chinese online novel, Coiling Dragon.

The story of "the descendant of once-glorious Dragonblood Warriors (now) rising from weak to strong" has attracted millions of English-language readers after volunteer netizens translated it. The Web user "I Eat Tomato", whose real name is Zhu Hongzhi, is the online novel's author.

Many overseas readers-mostly from the United States and Canada-have proved willing to invest more than a year poring over the novel's 853 chapters, discovering a world where "the strong live like royalty; the weak strive to survive another day".

They learn such Chinese terms as dantian (where strength and energy gather in the body), qi (an internal energy) and xianxia (fantasy and kung fu novels).

And many have subsequently become interested in reading more Chinese literature.

Over 700 Chinese web novels that have been translated-at least partially-are listed on, a guide to translated Asian literature. There are over 100 websites and online forums for such volunteers in North America.

One of the largest sites is, which hosts the English version of Coiling Dragon.

It received 3.2 million monthly visits from over 110 countries and regions as of April 21. It garnered over 1 billion hits in the 21 months after it was founded in December 2014, said its owner, Jingping Lai, a Chinese-American widely known online as RWX.

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