Children’s Book Market in China

by | October 15, 2018

Children’s Book Market in China

October 15, 2018

Just a few weeks ago, the 25th Beijing International Book Expo took place in the Beijing New International Exhibition Center. Over 2500 publishers from 93 countries and regions joined this Expo. Together these publishers brought over 300,000 new books to the visitors of the expo. One of our clients, Clavis, attended the Expo and even won the Exhibitor Excellence Award. The children’s book sector is one of the biggest sectors represented at the Expo. Due to the progress of urbanization in China, the value of children’s book as a creative function and creative inspiration has been recognized by hundreds of millions of Chinese families. As a result, the children’s book market in China is continuously growing. This article will discuss some insights about children’s book industry in China.

Growth of the book market in China

According to research of OpenBook, in 2017, the scale of the Chinese book market in 2017 was 80.3 billion RMB. Compared to 2016 this is an 14.55% increase. The graph below shows each sector’s contribution to the market growth. About 38% of the growth was driven by the children’s book market. In total the children’s book market in China had about 24.64% of the market share in 2017. Furthermore, if you take a look at the children’s book market itself, children’s literature, comic books, and encyclopedia are the most popular sections. Together they account for 72% of the Chinese children’s book market.

Book Market in China

Demand for children’s books in China

China has a population of 1.4 billion and more than 367 million children, consquently the demand for books is huge. However, the average book per capita rate of children in China is very low. In 2016, a total of 779 million children’s books were published in China. Assuming they all have been sold and if you take into account that there are 367 million children in the country, this means only 2.12 books were purchased per child.

Contrastingly, in the United States, the amount of children’s books sold in 2016 was 195 million, and each child on average had 3.2 copies. Likewise, in the United Kingdom, the amount of children’s books sold in 2016 was 66.334 million, and each child on average had 5.37 copies. If we compare to this level of sales per capita, the size of Chinese children’s book market should be 1.973 billion, which is 2.5 times the size of the present. Concluding, this shows that the children’s book market in China is still relatively small compared to the western world, even with the recent growth.

Future Potential

The Chinese children’s book market has a great potential. In many developed countries in Europe and America children’s books account for more than 30% of the total book market, and even 40% in some. Interestingly, even in these countries the size children’s books market is still growing.

Looking at data from the National Bureau of Statistics it shows that in the past few years the proportion of the population under the age of 15 in the Chinese population is gradually rising. Most likely this is due the liberalization of the one child policy. Moreover, the young parents who were born between 1980s and early 1990s are willing to consume more compared to their parents who were born in 1960s and 1970s.

The recent growth in consumption and the complete abolishment of the restrictions on having in children in 2020, hence, both indicate that the children’s book market in China will continue to grow in the future. It is highly likely that this market reach the levels of their Western counterparts and possibly even surpass them.

Final Thoughts

Reading is a great way to get to know the world. Chinese children are more and more encouraged to read at school and at home. Chinese parents are paying much attention to their kids on reading as well. We trust that the children’s book market in China will continue growing for a long time.

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What happened in the year 1421?

From 1421 to 1423, during the Ming Dynasty of China under Emperor Zhu Di (朱棣) the fleets of Admiral Zheng He (鄭和), commanded by the Chinese captains, discovered Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Antarctica, the Northeast Passage; and circumnavigated Greenland.

Due to this endeavour we can conclude that “1421 is the year that the Chinese discover the world”.