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Digital publishing industry in China - statistics & facts

The boom of the internet and mobile app economy has significantly transformed both the publishing landscape as well as consumers’ reading behaviors in China. The country is among some of the major digital publishing markets in the world. Currently, advertising has been the largest revenue contributor in the industry. In the next few years, part of the market growth was expected to be driven by a rising subscription revenue in digital reading and a thriving online education sector.

What are the bottlenecks in digital reading business?

Over the past decade, many print media companies have adopted digitalization changes and shifted their focus to social media platforms such as WeChat and Sina Weibo. Yet, it is hard to compete with video entertainment for consumers’ time and attention. With an unmatured paid readership, it comes no surprise that digital publications were merely a fraction in China’s digital publishing earnings, which were mainly based on ad spending. This was expected to change since more and more Chinese readers are willing to pay for high-quality written editorial content, along with an increasing e-reading penetration rate.

Who is the rising star?

Another important segment of digital publishing is online education with a market size estimated to surpass 300 billion yuan in 2020. The market growth was hugely fueled by strong demand for higher education and vocational training. Targeting these user groups, many e-learning providers have diversified their apps and online courses, from language and specified expertise learning to trainings of qualification examinations, job seeking, as well as mental health consultation. Apart from the rising middle-class, there has been a surge in consumer spending on e-learning in lower-tier cities, which house around half of China’s population. With the aid of artificial intelligence, the online education market will see plenty room for growth.

A more integrated ecosystem

The Chinese government has been supportive of the digital publishing industry. Besides policies protecting copyrights and intellectual property, various associations and organizations for internet authors were also established in the recent few years. Industry experts expect the influence of multi-channel networks (MCNs) would continue in China’s digital publishing. To enhance traffic and conversion rates, more media companies would collaborate with video platforms to deliver professionally generated content (PGC).

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Digital publishing in China

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