In the first half of 2013, Baidu released Wenku Digital Platform and online literature web Duokoo, while Sina spun off reading channel into an independent literature company.
Another Internet juggernaut Tencent also took the wraps off the long-awaited Tencent Literature in September, which includes three major divisions of Chuangshi, a web developed by Shanda Cloudary’s former Qidian team, feminine literature-focused Yunqi and a digital publishing platform for best-sellers (source in Chinese).
Apart from online writers, Tencent also invited traditional writers to the platform, including Nobile Literature Prize Winner Mo Yan, Su Tong and Liu Zhenyun. Cheng Wu, vice president of Tencent, disclosed that the company will invest 400 million yuan ($65.16 million) in purchasing the copyrights of best-sellers.
According to stats from CNNIC, China recorded 233 million of online literature readers by the end of 2012, forming a sizeable market even though the figure is still smaller the 336 million users for mobile gaming industry.
EnfoDesk, an Internet think-tank, predicted that the number of online readers will chalk up 648 million this year. Statistics from EnfoDesk showed that revenue from China’s mobile reading market surged 90.7 percent year-on-year to 1.47 billion yuan in the second quarter of 2013.
As noted by Cheng Wu, literature is on the upstream of entertainment industry. A raft of blockbusters and online games are adapted from online literature. The development of online literature will open up more cooperation opportunities with film, gaming and animation industry. He predicted that the value of literature industry will total 10 billion yuan, exceeding 100 billion yuan together with the output of related industries.
Apart from the above-mentioned latecomers, Shanda Cloudary, a well-established online literature brand in China, accounts for more than 70% of the market share and recorded profits since last year.