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Rosy outlook for China's digital publishing sector
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-08-23 10:31

By Zhuang Guangping and Tu Lingbo

In 2009, the annual output value of digital publication surpassed traditional publication for the first time in China, and with varied utilization and service of digital publication, the industry is presenting prosperous development trend.

In 2009, digital publication industry in China, with the annual output value of RMB79.94 billion yuan, which surpasses that of traditional publication industry of books and periodicals for the first time, has occupied the new commanding height of publication industry.

"New historical period has arrived, and digital publication is facing unprecedented opportunities." At China Digital Publication Annual Conference 2010 held recently, Mr. Sun Shoushan, Deputy Director of the General Administration of Press and Publication, called 2010 the key year for China's digital publication. He believed that as the important impetus of transferring the development mode of publication industry, digital publication had possessed the basis of rapid and leap-forward development and keeping pace with the traditional publication. The conditions are ripe.


Promote the transformation of traditional publication to digital publication

Mr. Liu Jiansheng, Deputy Director of publishing bureau of the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of CPC, pointed out at the annual conference that the achievement of the digital publication is getting better each year over the few years: it reached RMB21.3 billion yuan in 2006, RMB36.242 billion yuan in 2007, and RMB53.064 billion yuan in 2008. Behind the figures is the rapid rising and development of digital publication industry.

With the advent of information age, the improvement and universal application of Internet technology and mobile communication technology, and obvious changes of reading habits of citizens and the reading environment, a brand-new publication field - digital publication is springing up.

Digital publication is to store all the information into such medium as optical disk or magnetic disk in digital form of unified binary code and the disposal and reception of information is processed through computer or terminal equipments. All the products of digital publication or its service form, processing, release, sale and payment are gone through on network, including many kinds of carrier format, e.g. e-book, publishing-on-demand, Internet literature, Internet periodicals, mobile phone papers, online game etc.. And the outstanding characteristics of digital publication are mass storage, fast inquiring, multimedia and interactivity etc.

Although digital publication started relatively late in China, it made rapid progress in the short term. Sun Shoushan believed that the pattern of "traditional publication is dominant and digital publication is supplemented" would conclude and "the age of combination of traditional publication and digital publication had arrived".

At the conference, the Chinese Institute of Publishing Science released 2010 China Digital Publication Industry Annual Report, data shows that the annual output value of digital publication in China had reached RMB79.94 billion yuan in 2009, up 50.6 percent from 2008. It continued to keep a rapid growth compared with previous years.

Sun Shoushan believed that the key factors to the development of digital publication are solid technological foundation and policy environment of industry development.

During the period of "the Eleventh Five-year Plan", promotion of digital publication is taken as one of the eight strategic keys to Chinese press and publication definitely. In January 2010, the General Administration of Press and Publication released Guiding Opinions of the General Administration of Press and Publication on further Promoting the development of the Press and Publication Industry, making it clear that digital publication industry is the key point in press and publication development. Subsequently, three national digital publication bases are given approval to establish successively in Shanghai Zhangjiang, Chongqing New North Zone and Hangzhou. Besides, digital publication associations are established in Guangdong, Anhui and other provinces one by one, and digital publication is integrated into the development plan. All these indicate that the momentum of digital publication is very strong under the support of policies.

At the end of 2009, Apabi, a leading enterprise in digital publication industry declared that the document technology CEBX/A-1 with unified format and self-owned intellectual property rights, which is researched and developed by Apabi, had been authorized, and its Fanshu net was also building the digital publication platform. Besides, Hanwang Technology pushed out E-book, Founder Group and ASPire pushed out the Wenfang reader jointly, Tianjin Jinke Electronics Co., Ltd, pushed out Hanlin e-Reader, and China Mobile also pushed out G3 e-book combined with four domestic electronic reader manufacturer, including Hanwang Technology and Huawei in May 2009. Together with the constant renewal of systems of Symbian and Windows Mobile (WM), the terminal products of digital reading are continuously upgrading.

With the development of digital publication technology, digital publication industry is advancing at high speed. Various digital publication industry patterns like network book, network periodicals, network map, network music, network education, network game, e-book publication and mobile publication are forming.

Sun Shoushan emphasized that what should be done in the future is to speed up technology innovation, build 8 to 10 digital publication bases within 5 to 10 years, establish digital publication units with output value over RMB10 billion yuan, and promote the digital publication of traditional publication industry. 
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