China Publishing Group Corp. (CPG) is China’s largest and most influential trade and professional publishing group. It has been on the Chinese government’s list of the country’s top 30 cultural enterprises since 2008, and last year it ranked #14 on the list of the top 50 international publishing groups. It was the only Chinese publisher to rank among the top 500 brands in Asia. At the 2015 London Book Fair, CPG was presented with the Simon Master Chairman’s Award.
CPG boasts 40 publishing companies and imprints, with 96 subsidiaries; together, they release more than 10,000 books and audio-visual, electronic, and online publications each year. CPG has a 7% domestic book retail market share, larger than that of any other publisher in China, and it has held the largest market share for 12 consecutive years. Each year, it secures rights agreements with overseas publishers for more than 1,000 books and journals. It comprises China’s biggest import and export publisher, importing and exporting more than 600,000 titles annually, accounting for 62% and 30% of the domestic market, respectively. CPG owns 28 overseas publishing houses, bookstore chains, and offices, with its business extending to more than 130 countries and regions.
CPG includes the longest-established and most prestigious publishing houses in China, and it holds the biggest share of national publishing programs, national publishing awards, the book retail market, rights transactions, and key Chinese cultural enterprises. It also has the largest author and reader base, as well as the richest cultural heritage resources. Among the publishers under its umbrella are the 118-year-old Commercial Press, the 103-year-old Zhonghua Book Co., and the 84-year-old SDX Joint Publishing Co., as well as the People’s Literature Publishing House, the People’s Fine Arts Publishing House, the People’s Music Publishing House, and China National Publications Import & Export (Group) Corp. (CNPIEC), each with more than 60 years of experience.
CPG’s strategic goal is to be a major player in the global publishing industry by building a modern, large-scale media group.
Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair
Around 20 years ago, I visited China for the first time, and I’ve been coming back almost every year ever since. China has been going through some incredibly transformative years, and the book industry has been experiencing important changes, too. The region as a whole is becoming increasingly self-confident, developing strategies for the production and export of its own intellectual property—an exciting prospect for Western publishers. But in times of change, it is imperative to have reliable partners at your side. The China Publishing Group—a key and outstanding player in the Chinese book industry—has been one of those partners.
The Frankfurt Book Fair has always had strong ties to China and throughout Asia: the StoryDrive Asia conference, which was held for the third time in Beijing last year and has already become the most important meeting place in the region for cross-media and transmedia storytelling, is just one example. The China Publishing Group—the sole strategic partner backing the StoryDrive Asia conference—has played an important role in the event’s success. The group’s China Publishing and Media Journal is the leading publishing magazine in China, with which we have enjoyed over 10 years of fruitful strategic partnership. We work closely with a number of the group’s major publishing houses, most notably the People’s Literature Publishing House and SDX Joint Publishing Co.
At the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair, all of the Asian countries will be highly visible and grouped together for the first time in Hall 4, right in the center of the exhibition area. The main factor driving this change has been the abundant interest shown in Asian publishing internationally, as well as the pace of business at Asian publishers.
I am sure we will witness more intensive exchange between China and the rest of the world over the next 10 years. Large and internationally orientated corporations like the China Publishing Group will shape these developments significantly.
Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House has partnered with China Publishing Group companies often over the past 10 years. We have worked with People’s Literature Publishing House on the Penguin Classics in Chinese, China Translation & Publishing Corp. on the Great Ideas series, SDX Joint Publishing Co. on the Penguin Lives series, and the forthcoming publication of Penguin by Design with People’s Fine Arts Publishing Group. Our longstanding cooperation also includes imported book sales, rights deals, and efforts to secure Chinese-language books appropriate for publication overseas. We look forward to continuing to work closely together with China Publishing Group as we develop and grow our business in China. All of us at Penguin Random House wish CPG and the China delegation every success as the guest of honor at the 2015 BEA Global Market Forum.
Ruediger Wischenbart, a consultant and writer specializing in the publishing industry
To understand China’s perspective in publishing, it is helpful to take a closer look at some of its leading companies. From the outside, it might not be easy to grasp how many houses and initiatives are gathered under one roof, as the country has approximately 580 publishing conglomerates.
Take China Publishing Group: from an international point of view, it comes up as one of the leading actors in the “going out” strategy, as a partner to many leading international publishers.
With its China National Publications Import & Export Corp. (CNPIEC), CPG is also the most important gateway for houses that want to bring their books to the attention of Chinese readers and researchers. In return, many Chinese books exported overseas are, at first, handled through partnership programs between CPG and international distributors such as Baker & Taylor, Gardners, Ingram, and OverDrive. And now this exchange has been extended to digital as well, with the CNP eReading platform.
Only a few observers, however, know that the Beijing International Book Fair, which has become a fixture on the international calendar of book business events, is also a part of the organization.
In terms of publishing, I am always amazed by the amount of diversity and experience gathered under the CPG umbrella. For instance, you find Commercial Press, originally from Shanghai, which goes back over 100 years. The People’s Literature Publishing House, meanwhile, as the name hints, was created together with the New China of 1949. At book fairs in London, Frankfurt, and New York, rights directors and acquiring editors may have no idea that the Chinese publishers they are buying from and selling to are working within such a wide context.
They would probably be even more surprised to learn that the automated translation engine used by several of the largest Chinese Internet platforms, including Alibaba and Baidu, comes from one of the most innovative divisions of CPG.
But in today’s world of immensely complex actors in publishing, driven by globalization, digitalization, and strong forces of consolidation, it will be key for Chinese publishing groups to present themselves as just as versatile partners as their international counterparts.
Jacks Thomas, director of the London Book Fair
Since the London Book Fair welcomed China as its Market Focus country in 2012, we have continued to build our relationship with international publishers seeking to do business with China, and with Chinese publishers looking to extend their international reach.
Indeed Chinese publishers’ involvement in LBF has grown enormously in terms of rights sales, profile, and events. Although language is still one major challenge facing the outbound growth of China’s publishing industry, the LBF team has worked extensively with Chinese publishers such as the China Publishing Group to help them overcome challenges by providing a platform to showcase their titles to international publishers. At this year’s LBF, 2,000 anthologies showcasing top Chinese writers in English translation were distributed.
This year, LBF is increasing our joint education initiatives with key publishing groups like CPG and also with key Chinese publishing events like the Beijing International Book Fair. LBF has also started a monthly e-newsletter in Chinese to all the publishers in China, and an official WeChat channel.
It was fantastic to see five Chinese companies shortlisted for the independently judged LBF International Excellence Awards 2015 in April. We are delighted to be able to showcase the best that is going on within Chinese publishing at the moment, from translation to adult publishing to pioneering technology, to an international audience. On the subject of translation, we were really pleased to collaborate with China Translation & Publishing Corp. (CTPC), a subsidiary of CPG that provided simultaneous translations for our conferences at LBF 2015.
In November 2014, LBF cohosted a transmedia forum at the China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair, bringing in leading international experts from Walker Books and Penguin Random House, alongside key Chinese publishers. We found many Chinese children’s publishers who are pioneering new ways to get book content to children—on the cutting edge across all media they work with.
With the LBF having launched its first Creative Industries Day in April, we are looking forward to collaborating with China Publishing Group on an initial creative industries forum at the Beijing International Book Fair to coincide with the 2015 U.K.-China Year of Cultural Exchange.
On a personal note, I find working with our Chinese publishing colleagues—particularly CPG—fascinating, rewarding, and fun. We wish all the Chinese publishers taking part in BEA the best of luck.
Companies Under the CPG Umbrella
China Fine Arts Publishing Group
Founded in 1951, the China Fine Arts Publishing Group consists of People’s Fine Arts Publishing House and China Comic Strip Publishing House, and it runs 10 journals. It is the arts publishing house with the widest coverage and the most prominent brand in China. China Fine Arts Publishing Group has published a large number of domestically and internationally renowned works, including The Complete Collection of Chinese Arts, The Collection of Classified Chinese Fine Arts Works, The Collection of Ancient Chinese Fine Arts Works, The Masters Series of Modern Chinese Art, Masterworks of Chinese Painting: Chinese Paintings Over a Century, and The Collection of the Palace Museum. The China Comic Strip Publishing House has published several influential titles, including The Red Ribbon of the Earth, the Red Dragonfly series, Earthquake Relief, Charm of China, and others. It has successively won nine Chinese national book awards and 12 international book awards.
China National Publications Import and Export (Group) Corp.
Founded in 1949, the China National Publications Import and Export (Group) Corp. (CNPIEC) is the largest enterprise engaged in importing books to and exporting books from China. CNPIEC has 36 branches at home and abroad, total assets valued at over three billion yuan, and more than two billion yuan of revenue. In addition to its import and export business, CNPIEC puts on domestic and international exhibitions and is involved in overseas publishing, overseas network construction, and other international trade. CNPIEC imports more than 370,000 titles per year, accounting for more than 60% of domestic market share, and it exports more than 300,000 titles annually, accounting for about 30% of domestic market share. CNPIEC has established eight overseas publishing companies—in Frankfurt, London, New York, Paris, Seoul, Sydney, Tokyo, and Vancouver—and set up 11 Xinhua bookstores, China Modern Bookstores, distribution companies, and branches in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, and other countries and regions. It is the organizer of Beijing International Book Fair.
China Translation & Publishing Corp.
China Translation & Publishing Corp. was founded in 1973. It has been engaged in translating documents from the United Nations and its related institutions into Chinese and printing them, with translation services specializing in finance, law, science and technology, machinery, chemical engineering, medicine, and culture. Types of translation include consecutive interpretation, simultaneous interpretation, and exhibition language services. China Translation & Publishing Corp. publishes reference works, translations, general books, foreign-language textbooks, and student readings, as well as such journals as Motion, Yangtze River Delta, and the Week.
Founded in 1897, Commercial Press was China’s first modern publishing institution. It primarily compiles and publishes translations of foreign academic works in philosophy and the social sciences, as well as Chinese and foreign-language reference books, research works, textbooks, and popular books. It also runs two periodicals: The World of English and The World of Chinese. It has published more than 40,000 books and periodicals over the past century, including The Dictionary of Chinese Etymology, The Modern Chinese Dictionary, The Xinhua Dictionary, The New Age Chinese-English Dictionary, the 400-title Chinese Translations of World Academic Masterpieces series, biographies of world celebrities, the Knowledge on the History of Chinese Culture series, the Commercial Press Library, The Oxford Advanced Learner’s English-Chinese Dictionary, and The Longman Advanced American Dictionary. The Modern Chinese Dictionary, The Xinhua Dictionary, The Apply Chinese Dictionary, and The Apply Chinese Mini-Dictionary, which are all published by Commercial Press, have been well-received abroad and serve as a bridge for foreigners to learn about Chinese culture.
Encyclopedia of China Publishing House
The Encyclopedia of China Publishing House was founded in 1978. It publishes encyclopedias and other reference books, along with various other kinds of academic works, popular science titles, and general-interest books. Its subsidiaries Knowledge Publishing House and Encyclopedia of China Electronic Audio
& Video Publishing House run four magazines: Encyclopedic Knowledge, Little Encyclopedia, China Real Estate, and the English version of City Weekly. Over the past three decades, Encyclopedia of China Publishing House has published a number of general encyclopedias, such as the 74-volume Encyclopedia of China, as well as a 12-volume concise edition; the Chinese edition of the 11-volume Concise Encyclopaedia Britannica, along with a 20-volume international Chinese edition; the China Children’s Encyclopedia series; and Encyclopedia of China (second edition, 32 volumes). The house has also published almost a number of professional and regional encyclopedias, a wide range of reference book series, and nearly 10,000 popular books.
Founded in 1932, Joint Publishing is the most prominent academic publishing house in China. It runs Joint Publishing Lifeweek, Reading, Competitiveness, Love Music, and other journals. Reading and the books Fu Lei’s Letters Home, Essays from Memory, and Theory of Love have been particularly influential, as have recently published titles such as Works of Chen Yinke, Works of Qian Zhongshu, and JinYong’s Works. In addition, Joint Publishing has published several series, including the SDX and HYI academic series, the Joint Publishing Forum, Modern Western Academic Classics, Books & Reading, and others.
People’s Literature Publishing House
Founded in 1951, People’s Literature Publishing House (PLPH) is the oldest, largest, and most influential literary publishing house in China. It primarily publishes modern and contemporary Chinese works, along with classic Chinese literature, classic foreign literature, and modern foreign literary works. PLPH has many wholly owned subsidiaries, including Daylight Publishing House (children’s books), and it runs Contemporary Era, Selected Chinese Literature, Historical Materials on New Literature, Chinese Learner’s Companion, Literary Stories, and other newspapers and periodicals. PLPH has published tens of thousands of books, with a circulation of over 800 million volumes, including such classics as Water Margin, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Journey to the West; the more recent White Deer Plain, Red Poppies, and Harry Potter series; and collections including the selected works of Lu Xun, the complete plays of the Yuan Dynasty, and the complete works of William Shakespeare.
People’s Music Publishing House
The People’s Music Publishing House, founded in 1954, is the largest professional music publishing house in China, and the most influential internationally. It has published nearly 10,000 books of music and works about folk art and dance. Key titles include A Draft for History of Chinese Ancient Music, A Music History of Pre-Qin Dynasty, A Pictorial Handbook of the History of Chinese Drama, The Facts on File Dictionary of Music, An Overview of Chinese Symphonic Music, and An Image Collection of Music-Dance Artistry in China’s Grotto Temples, as well as series such as the Collection of Works by Contemporary Chinese Composers, the Collection of Chinese Musical Works in the 21st Century, the Collection of Classic Translations of Foreign Musical Works, and Great Music: Traditional Music from a Brilliant Land. The People’s Music Publishing House runs such journals as Music Research, China Music Education, and The Art of Piano. Its electronic and audio-visual publications include Chinese Music Collection (Karaoke), Happy Sunshine, and 60 Years of Children’s Music—Children’s Songs in New China.
Founded in 1672, Rongbaozhai is a renowned brand in China and abroad. Its aim is to popularize and disseminate Chinese culture, including traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. Rongbaozhai primarily publishes works of calligraphy and painting by ancient and modern masters, as well as titles about inscription and seal cutting, bookbinding, layout and remounting, calligraphy and painting repair, woodblock printing, and other crafts. Titles include Rongbaozhai Painting Annual, Complete Works of Chinese Calligraphy, Selected Works of Epitaph Calligraphy, Selected Works of Statue Inscription Calligraphy, and Precious Collection from Rongbaozhai. Rongbaozhai has won two national intangible cultural heritage awards from Unesco, one Beijing intangible cultural heritage award, one first-place Chinese government award for publishing, four national book awards, and more than 100 other important awards. In 2006, Rongbaozhai was recognized as a famous trademark of China by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board and re-accredited as a “time-honored brand” by the Chinese Commerce Ministry.
Zhonghua Book Co.
Zhonghua Book Co. was founded in 1912 and primarily engages in the collation and publication of ancient Chinese books and the publication of relevant academic works, as well as popular books and reference titles. It has published Chinese Heritage, Chinese Literature and History, the Journal of Literature and History, and Calligraphy Review, as well as such books as History as a Mirror, The Collection of Research on Bone Shell Inscriptions, The Collection of Inscriptions on Bronzes in Yin & Zhou, The Tibetan-Language Chinese Tripitaka (Chinese edition), and The Commentary on Records on the Western Regions of the Great Tang Empire. The revised editions of The Twenty-Fourth History and The Manuscript of the History of Qing Dynasty are among Zhonghua’s critically acclaimed works, as are A Year of No Significance and Professor Yu Dan’s Thinking of the Analects.