China’s Bourne is coming
Once an electrician in East China’s Jiangsu province, Liu Ye never imagined he would become an internet sensation or see his name on the big screen.
But now thanks to China’s thirsty for quality intellectual property — in this case, content with a large fan base — the online writer will see his novel, Age of Legends, developed into a franchise.
At a recent Beijing event hosted byChineseAll.com, one ofChina’s largest digital-publication platforms, the company announced it would team up with five leading studios to turn a number of novels into movies, television shows and games.
As one of the most popular novels on 17k.com, a literature site affiliated to ChineseAll, Age of Legends has received more than 300 million “clicks” and a score of 8.5 points on 10 on the influential review site Douban.com.
Unlike most online novels depicting time-travel romances, Age of Legends is somewhat a real-life, rags-to-riches tale. Set in a fictional city, it talks of a security guard who aims to become a business tycoon.
Zhejiang Huace Film & TV, one of the five partners, plans to adapt the novel into three TV series, two films and one smartphone game in the next five years. The aim is to establish the protagonist hero as the Chinese answer to Matt Damon’s super spy Jason Bourne, says Xu Yile, general manager of Croton, a Shanghai subsidiary of the Hangzhou-based company.
Most of the novel’s diehard fans are aged 18 or 19, data show.
“A young fan had donated 200,000 yuan ($30,000) to the author in 2011. It’s an incredible figure even by