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CICG brings China-themed publications to wider global audience

By Cui Can   |    CICG, July 17, 2023

This year's Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF), which ran from June 15-18, attracted over 2,500 exhibitors from 56 countries and regions and showcased more than 200,000 Chinese and foreign titles. China-themed books were a hit at the fair, becoming one of the most popular types of copyright cooperation.

Visitors browse the exhibition area of China International Communications Group at the 29th Beijing International Book Fair. [Photo/CICG]

Rising number of copyright agreements

Recognizing the BIBF as the world's second-largest book fair, Ahmed al-Saeed, CEO of Bayt Al-Hekma, aimed to leverage this opportunity for enhanced cooperation. He said he hopes to utilize the BIBF as a platform to deepen cooperation with Chinese publishers and foster close collaborations with other countries in promoting cultural exchange and international copyright partnerships.

This May, the Arabic edition of the "Monkey King" series was released in Beijing. The series, which features Monkey King from the classic story "Journey to the West" as the main character, was published by Blossom Press under China International Communications Group (CICG) in cooperation with Bayt Al-Hekma. Saeed actively participated in the translation process of these books and promoted them to young people in the Arab world. 

Wang Tao, president of Blossom Press, highlighted the steady increase in their copyright exports over the years. The publisher has expanded its market from traditional European and American countries to Latin America, the Middle East, and countries along the Belt and Road.

Additionally, many publishing houses are exploring new mechanisms for book trading. One such recent initiative was launched by New Star Press under CICG, promoting Chinese science fiction to a global audience by publishing Chinese novels in American science fiction magazines.

In 2013, New Star Press partnered with HarperCollins Publishers Group to introduce Agatha Christie's works to Chinese readers, sparking a fever for detective stories in China. Six years later, the book "The Art of Chinese Living: An Inheritance of Tradition" was officially signed for publication in English by HarperCollins. Chronicling the traditions of Chinese life and culture, the book opens a window for global audiences to better understand China.

Diverse channels of publishing cooperation

In recent years, there has been a marked shift in the content demand for China-themed books, from traditional Chinese literature and culture to the governance of China. 

The exhibition area of China International Communications Group at the 29th Beijing International Book Fair from June 15-18, 2023. [Photo/CICG]

During the 29th BIBF, foreign publishers from 11 countries including Spain, Italy, and Canada signed 11 copyright trade agreements with CICG for books such as "The Governance of China in the New Era: Breaking the Cycle of Rise and Fall." They also reached 12 preliminary agreements on copyright and publishing cooperation for books such as "A Global Community of Shared Future: Understanding the New Vision for Globalization" and the "China in Focus" series. 

Furthermore, the New World Press has built overseas editorial departments for publishing China-themed books in collaboration with 19 publishing institutions from 17 countries including India, the Republic of Korea, the U.S., and Russia, involving 11 Belt and Road countries. To date, the New World Press has launched 105 international publishing cooperation programs and published 93 types of books overseas. 

Li Chunkai, president of the New World Press, noted that the publication of the "China Keywords" series is an exemplary case of international publishing cooperation. Looking forward, Li said he hopes to work with more foreign publishers and launch more China-themed books such as the "China Keywords" series and the "Why and How the CPC Works in China" series, to help overseas readers understand contemporary China and the governance philosophies of the Communist Party of China.

In terms of digital books, during the BIBF event, Sinolingua Press finalized 95 copyright cooperation deals on digital publishing rights with publishers from countries such as the U.S., Singapore, and Mongolia. Additionally, Sinolingua Press has already released 16 audiobooks on Amazon Audible.

Improved cooperation mechanism

The International Publishing Cooperation Mechanism for China-Themed Books, initiated by CICG over three years ago, has expanded rapidly, with more partners from home and abroad joining the cooperation network.

A signing ceremony concerning the International Publishing Cooperation Mechanism for China-Themed Books is held in Beijing on June 15, 2023. [Photo/CICG]

Since its inception, the cooperation mechanism has focused on major themes and responded to overseas audiences' demand. It has facilitated the publication of a series of China-themed books that are easy to read, engaging and insightful. Furthermore, the mechanism employs new technological means to promote international publishing cooperation, explores innovation on the content, forms, channels, and business models of publishing China-themed books overseas.

Adam MarszaƂek Publishing, a leading publisher in Poland, is a member of the cooperation mechanism. It has established a new subsidiary, Asiatica Publishing, to expand the market for China-themed books in Ukraine. Oleg Golovko, founder of Asiatica Publishing, said he was impressed by the vigorous development of China's publishing industry and hopes to increase collaboration with Chinese publishers in the future.

"During this visit to the BIBF, I had the firsthand experience of the vitality of China's publishing industry," Golovko said. "It's among the best in the world."