Nurturing homegrown talent and publishing outstanding original works are the main goals at China Children’s Press & Publication Group (CCPPG) this year. Increasing its efforts in these directions is “essential for the company’s long-term and sustainable development,” says its president, Sun Zhu. This year, the CCPPG catalogue will have around 700 new publications, 90% of which are originals.
“Young people are the future and the hope of a country,” Sun says. “This is a belief shared by the whole world. Given that the positive development of the young will exert a great impact on a country’s progress and future, we are focused on publications that will inspire, motivate, and resonate with them.”
The CCPPG Sunshine Library series, containing more than 100 original picture books, for instance, is about love, life, and dreams, while the inspiring Insect Diaries series has sold more than two million copies. “The Happy Milly, Molly, and Lily series offers 70 titles on character-building and cultivating a positive attitude and has been translated into 34 languages,” Sun says. “Then we have Think Like a Great Mind: Let’s Read Mao Zedong, on his thoughts, emotions, and life decisions, which is available in several editions, including English, Dutch, and Italian. The newly published Xi Jinping Tells Stories for Teenagers offers insights into real-world issues and personal growth and has gone back to the press for its 13th printing with nearly 900,000 copies sold.”
Speaking of Milly and Molly, CCPPG acquired a stake in the New Zealand–based Milly and Molly Children’s Publishing Group last year, and work on redeveloping the IP-based titles has already begun. “There will be new storybooks, game-based titles, digital products, and other derivative products that are not only for the China market but also for distribution across the world,” Sun says, pointing out that CCPPG introduced a new character, a Chinese girl, to the series, so the IP is now known as Milly, Molly, and Lily.
In the months ahead, Sun will be working on a new project, the CCPPG Happy Reading platform, which is not print-related but rather will harness the breadth and reach of CCPPG’s publications. “Combined, our publications—of 1,500 titles, five newspapers, and 13 magazines—have an annual circulation in excess of 200 million copies,” Sun says. “We are the largest children’s publisher in China in terms of output. Our readership is immense, and we certainly have plans to leverage that.” CCPPG is known for being the Chinese home of Cipollino, Le Petit Nicolas, Pippi Longstocking, and Tintin, a series that has sold 14.67 million copies since its launch in 2001.
The newly created CCPPG Happy Reading platform, Sun says, “is about transforming traditional publications into an online library that will support reading services. Across China, there is now a push for children to read more. Schools also have instituted more reading classes. Our reading services platform, which offers wide-ranging materials, answers this need and demand.” The platform now provides digital versions of CCPPG newspapers and magazines, animated stories, and interactive picture books. Next on Sun’s to-do list is the creation of a new digital library that focuses on science-related materials and resources.
“We have started collaborating with several major integrated content providers that reach more than 100 million readers and have dedicated apps for active users and subscribers,” says Sun, whose team has customized content from its magazines and books based on market demand for enhanced audio products. “We provide high-quality audio materials that will promote listening and speaking, and we offer young readers a better reading experience to help them in their studies.” Among the first CCPPG titles to be issued in audio were Lin Handa’s Historical Chinese Stories series and The Adventures of Onionhead.
Next, Sun and his team are going to develop curriculum-based products for primary and middle schoolers. “Given the range of our existing products, the potential to pivot from print to digital and audio is immense,” Sun says. “And we are planning to start on leveraging our own IPs and proprietary characters, such as Fire-Hat Rooster, Jumpy Frog, and Red Kangaroo, and create unique paid courses.” For Sun, the many new initiatives are simply “CCPPG’s way of anticipating industry needs and working quickly to meet market demands.”