With three offices in China and one in Lebanon, Anhui Children’s Publishing House adds about 800 new titles annually to its 15,000-title catalogue. Known for introducing licensed characters including Peppa Pig, Angry Birds, and Transformers to Chinese children, the publisher is known for producing original works in children’s literature, popular science, and animation and comics, as well as preschool titles. In fact, 70% of ACPH publications are originals, and more than 1,000 titles have been sold to different countries, including Belgium, France, Poland, and the U.S.
ACPH excels—and differentiates itself from industry counterparts—in comics. The company’s 20-volume TV tie-in Homer & Landau: Legend of Seven Knights has sold 16 million copies since its 2006 launch, and the Big-Head Son and Little-Head Father series has exceeded 24 million copies sold since 2014. Another specialty is creating novelty titles for babies; ACPH’s classic fairy tales series on EVA foam and plastic bath books has been sold to Lebanon, Syria, and the U.A.E.
“The effort to cultivate new and younger writers—not just for the local market, but for the world—needs to be intensified,” says Zhang Kewen, president of ACPH, whose recent bestselling series include Peppa Pig (15 million copies sold), Mo’s Mischief: Comics Edition (7.3 million), and Yang Hongying’s Fairy Tales (1.5 million). “The current crop of authors and illustrators is insufficient to support the needs of our domestic market of 370 million children, and we need more to balance out the imports,” Zhang says. “For ACPH, it has become our mission to uncover new talents, develop their works, and popularize them.”
To ensure that new and existing talents have the support they need, Zhang has built an online ecosystem that includes writers’ groups, fan clubs, and reading promotion centers as well as an online store.
Last November 11, Singles Day in China (the equivalent of Black Friday), ACPH sold 30 million copies of books through its online store, making it the #1 seller among similar stores operated by other children’s publishing houses. “Developing, promoting, and protecting authors and their works is the promise of Anhui Children’s Publishing House, and that has remained unchanged in the past 33 years,” adds Zhang.