'In the Name of the People' | © Joyhill Media Culture Co.
'In the Name of the People' | © Joyhill Media Culture Co.
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Online Literature Boom Sees Rise in Chinese Film and TV Production

Picture of Cassam Looch
Film Editor
Updated: 2 January 2018

The recent boom in China’s fiction-based, online writing has led to a rise in the number of domestically produced films, games and TV shows. 

Last year saw a record numbers of entertainment titles being released in China, with a significant proportion of these being based around stories published online. Data from Chinese information company iResearch showed that the market for digital literature grew by 32.1% over the course of 2017.

These numbers may be due to the rise in smartphone usage in China, with the country boasting over 700 million mobile device owners – more than twice as many as the next highest-rating nation (India).

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Growth in the online fiction is set to expand even further over the next year, and it is estimated that the market will be worth $2.79 billion by 2019. This is great news for writers, as users in China have shown an appetite to pay for high-quality content. These changes in habit has been accelerated thanks to the government’s move to eliminate online piracy across all forms of entertainment.

TV adaptations lead the way, with over 60% of respondents to iResearch’s survey stating that they have seen a small-screen version of an online novel. This is followed closely by the number of people who have watched web-series adaptations (58.2%) and film adaptations (57%).


Ode to Joy | © Daylight Entertainment

Two shows leading the way on TV are anti-corruption drama In the Name of the People and female-centric Ode to Joy.

In the Name of the People, adapted from an online novel of the same name, has become a ratings smash and is the first show to tackle political corruption since 2004, when China’s broadcast regulator banned any illustration of corruption on TV. It is best described as the Chinese version of House of Cards. The more youth-orientated Ode to Joy chronicles the lives of five women from various backgrounds. The show is based on a popular online novel by A’nai. Two seasons in, Ode to Joy has amassed over 22 billion views online.SaveSaveSaveSave