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Publisher Calls For Cooperation to Publish Chinese Online Literature in Thailand

September 9, 2017

During the recent 2017 Global Seminar on International Communication of China Online Literature -- Thailand Session held in Bangkok, participants were invited to join an an industry-wide cooperation to assure authorized distribution of Chinese online literature within Thailand.

The event was hosted by Shanghai Yuewen Information Technology Company.

The call was made by Hou Qingchen, vice president of China Literature, who urged distribution of the Chinese works through both online and offline channels within Thailand. He said that the effort will also assure that more readers in the country wil have access to the best of China's literary traditions.

As Ken Yu, director of license at Thailand's Hongsamut, said at the event, "An increasing number of publishers in Thailand are rushing to translate China's online novels, which undoubtedly reflects the popularity of China's online novels among Thai readers.

At the event, Hou Qingchen, vice president of China Literature, invited participants of the event to join in an industry-wide cooperation, to assure an authorised distribution of Chinese online literary works through both Thailand's online and offline channels. The effort will also assure that more readers in the country will have access to the best of China's literary tradition.

In addition to Japanese anime and Korean dramas, China's online novels, films and TV plays adapted from these literary works are increasingly popular among audiences across Thailand.

The Eternal Love, a Chinese webisode that has just concluded, was enjoyed by many Thai viewers. The two principal characters, Xiao Tan and Mo Liancheng, were very compelling to Thai audiences. On Youtube, the Thai-language version of The Eternal Love achieved an astonishingly high click-through rate and received a massive number of positive comments from online users throughout the country. Like many online users in China, viewers in Thailand are eagerly awaiting Season II of the webisode.

The Eternal Love is not the first Chinese drama to cause a sensation in Thailand. Thai viewers have been enjoying Chinese TV dramas for a long time, with five to six TV stations across the country having previously included Chinese TV dramas in their seasonal programming lineups. Unlike those adapted from traditional Chinese novels such as The Three Kingdoms, most of the Chinese TV dramas that have been exported to Thailand to date and recently caught the eye of Thai viewers were adapted from online novels, such as Nirvana in Fire, Princess Agents and The Eternal Love.

In bookstores across Thailand, online novels penned by Chinese authors, including Jiang Ye and The Chinese Detective, have been on the bestseller list for a long time. Interestingly, although the country's book readers have traditionally overwhelmingly been women, once Chinese online novels entered the Thai book market, fantasy and martial arts novels started to attract a large number of male readers, with The King's AvatarJiang Ye and Candle in the Tomb having remained at the top of the bestseller lists for the longest times. In particular, popular author Mao Nihas attracted many fans in Thailand with his novel series Jiang Ye, now on its recently-released 10th volume. The copyright cooperation and cultural exchanges between China's online literature platforms represented by China Literature, the IP holder of these popular novels, and Thailand's publishing organizations have brought the two sides much closer.

In Ken's opinion, there are many similarities between Chinese and Thai cultures, and, as a result, he expects China's online literature to find a welcoming audience in Thailand's marketplace. Ken also noted that, interestingly, many publishers in Thailand tried to publish print versions of the Chinese literary works, the translations of which hewed very closely to the classical originals, however the market reaction was subdued. "Online literary works have a higher degree of acceptance, as they are easier to understand."

According to Sansomnoonduk, an executive at Siam Inter Multimedia, sales of Chinese literary works have visibly shown growth in the Thai market. In some cases, many diehard fans couldn't wait for the publishers to complete the translations, and undertook the job of translating the Chinese originals themselves. Privately organized subtitling groups have taken on the role of representing such readers. Reports show that Siam Inter Multimedia, with more than 20 years of experience in translating and publishing Chinese novels, are now rolling out 10 to 12 Chinese novels in Thailand a year, and are achieving remarkable sales, accounting for up to 70 percent of their total sales revenues. The publishing of these classical works from the Middle Kingdom, works that have been taught in Chinese universities for generations and, more and more, are receiving attention in university classrooms worldwide, are helping to set new standards for and raise the overall quality of the Thai publishing industry.

We can expect to see more Chinese online literary works being introduced to Thai readers, and even see some of the great Thai classics start to make the reverse trip to the novel-reading public in China.