INSIGHTS | The state of China’s ‘ear economy’ in 2019

5 min read
Image credit: IPO Zaozhidao

I’ve been a fan of podcasts for a long time. Starting in 2009 (around the time I started at China Radio International’s English service), I listened to shows such as No Agenda, Hardcore History, and This Week in Tech. Back then, I thought the podcast market was pretty mature. At least the production values on these shows were quite high and they all seemed to be making money through a combination of donations and ads. At the time, podcasts were almost unheard of in China.

Fast forward to 2014. Apple’s China operations begin to take podcasting in China seriously. In need of content, they convinced our radio station to upload episodes to their platform. Around that time, we also started uploading our content to local audio platforms like Ximalaya and Lizhi.fm. By the time I left in 2015, we still hadn’t gotten much traction online: podcasts weren’t mainstream and, to tell the truth, we weren’t put

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