Since 2002 when China began incorporation of its publishing industry, altogether 55 publishing groups have been set up. The largest, China Publishing Group, established in April 2003, has under its umbrella 12 large enterprises and institutes including the Commercial Press, the Zhonghua Book Company, the DSX Book Company, the Xinhua Bookstore, China International Publishing Trade Corporation, and China Book Import and Export (Group) Corporation. The Group incorporates publishing and distribution of publications involving various media, chain stores, import and export, copyright trade, printing and replicating, information service, technology development and financing. According to a national plan, by 2005, China will have five to 10 publishing groups with an annual sale of one to even 10 billion yuan each; 10 to 20 periodicals with world-wide distribution and one to two periodical groups with the annual sale of 300 to 500 million yuan.
Meanwhile, in accordance with its World Trade Organization commitments, the State Press and Publication Administration of China proclaimed the Administrative Measures on Foreign-Invested Book, Newspaper and Periodical Distribution Enterprises, which allow foreign investors to do book, newspaper and periodical retailing as of May 1, 2003, while wholly foreign-owned wholesalers will be permitted as of December 1, 2004. At present, more than 60 foreign-invested enterprises have set up agencies in Chinese mainland that plan to apply or are applying for investment in and establishment of book, newspaper and periodical distribution enterprises.
Books and Periodicals
At present, China has 568 publishing houses and 292 audio-video publishing units. The state has also planned important book publication projects and established prizes for excellent books to promote the development of the publishing industry. Meanwhile, the periodical industry has developed at an amazing rate. In 1949, there were only 257 periodicals in China, with a total print run of 20 million, or less than 0.1 copy per capita. In 1979, the number of periodicals rose to 1,470, with a total of 1.184 billion copies, or 1 copy per capita. In 2003, there were more than 8,000 periodicals in China, with a total print run of 2.99 billion, or more than 2.3 copies per person.
The electronic publications market has kept pace with the rapid development of the information processing industry in China. At present, there are 110 electronic publishing units. In 2003, 2,400 electronic publications were released.
The China International Publishing Group ("CIPG") plays a unique role in China's foreign-language publishing and exchanges. This large-scale publishing group featuring publishing, printing and distribution of foreign-language books and periodicals puts out four magazines in English, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese, and has seven publishing houses, and several websites in several languages. The four magazines are Beijing Review, China Today, China Pictorial, and People's China. The seven publishing houses, including Foreign Languages Press and New World Press, publish nearly 1,000 titles on different subjects in more than 20 foreign languages every year. The titles are distributed to some 190 countries and regions, playing an important role in enabling people of other countries to gain a better understanding of China. The China International Book Trading Corporation, a member of the CIPG, distributes foreign-language books and periodicals to 80-odd countries and regions, and holds exhibition of Chinese books abroad.
The Intercontinental Communications Center is a non-governmental international communications organization specializing in producing multi-language audio-video products (including films and television programs) and regular publications. Since its founding in 1993, it has turned out several hundred hours of movies and television programs and about a hundred books annually, which reach well over 150 countries and regions across the world. These programs and books mainly introduce to the world China's basic conditions, culture, custom, reform and opening-up, and modernization drive, as well as China's views on issues of international concern.
The China Internet Information Center utilizes Internet technology to introduce the most authoritative and comprehensive information about China to people at home and abroad. It went into operation on January 1, 1997 at china.org.cn.