Founder and core team of Qidian, an online original literature platform under Shanda’s Cloudary, left Cloudary early this month. It is reportedly that the team will launch a new site in the coming May or June, partnering with Tencent or Baidu.(in Chinese)

Qidian is regarded as the inventor of the business model that is widely applied by almost all online original literature platforms in China. Starting as an amateur writers union, Qidian was launched in mid-2002 and began charging for premium content, 0.02- 0.05 yuan per thousand Chinese characters, in late 2003. It shared revenues with writers from the very beginning. It was acquired by Shanda in 2004 and reportedly turned a profit in 2006.

Shanda acquired another five online literature sites later. All the six sites, under the leadership of former Sina vice chief-editor Hou Xiaoqiang though, have been operated independently. Qidian has been the strongest in terms of both market share and revenue. In 2012, 30% of Cloudary’s total revenue and 70% of profits were contributed by Qidian.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com