China Daily

Audiobooks gaining legions of Chinese fans


Audiobooks, which were not introduced to China until the 1990s, and other audio publicatio­ns are gaining legions of fans as technology fuels the nation’s traditiona­l love of reading.

The market for audio publicatio­ns was worth 1.66 billion yuan ($241 million) in 2015, up by 29 percent compared with the previous year, data from the Chinese Academy of Press and Publicatio­n show.

A big part of the trend is down to online “radio stations” that offer free or paidfor access to a range of audio products.

Ximalaya FM, for example, said it has more than 300 million users, with the number growing by about 400,000 a day. On average, active users spend 111 minutes a day on its website or app, which provide access to more than 30 million items in 328 categories, including finance, music, news, business, fiction and cars.

Some popular titles that started as audio products are even finding their way into print, such as Is Classical Music Difficult?, an online magazine show available on Ximalaya FM that has been published as a book.

“I like to listen to podcast lectures that give me knowledge while I’m riding my bicycle to work or coming home,” said Liu Zhenhui, 30, who works at an internet company in Beijing. “I also listen to audiobooks of novels. You can do other things when you listen to a book, but I think reading it still leaves a deeper impression.”

And its not just an urban trend in China; there is great demand for audio publicatio­ns among farmers and migrant workers too.

“With a large rural population, China has a huge market for audio publicatio­ns,” Liu Yancai, editor of China Fangzheng Press, said in an earlier interview.

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