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The Chinese publishing industry has continued to grow. In 2004 China published 25.77 billion copies of national-level and provincial-level newspapers, 2.69 billion magazines, and 6.44 billion books. 

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, and the main store of 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 copying, information service, technology development and financing. According to a national plan, by the end of 2005, China will have five to 10 publishing groups each with annual sales of between one and even 10 billion yuan; 10 to 20 periodicals with world-wide distribution and one or two periodical groups with annual sales of 300 to 500 million yuan. 

Meanwhile, in accordance with China's undertakings to WTO, the State Press and Publication Administration of China issued the Administrative Measures on Foreign-Invested Book, Newspaper and Periodical Distribution Enterprises in May 2003, allowing foreign investors to engage in book, newspaper and periodical retailing as of May 1, 2003, and wholesaling as of December 1, 2004. It also stipulates that foreign investors must have the approval of the State Press and Publication Administration to establish book, newspaper and periodical retailing and wholesaling enterprises. At present, more than 60 foreign-invested enterprises have set up agencies in China mainland, preparing to apply for or in the process of applying for investment in and the establishment of book, newspaper and periodical distribution enterprises.

Books and Periodicals

Today, there are 568 publishing houses and 292 audio-video publishers in China. The state has also planned key book publication projects and established prizes for excellent books to promote the development of the publishing industry.

Meanwhile, the periodical industry is developing at an amazing speed. In 1949, there were only 257 periodicals in China, with a total impression of 20 million, or less than 0.1 copy per capita. After the reform and opening-up, in 1979, the number of periodicals rose to 1,470, with a total of 1.184 billion copies, or 1 copy per capita. In 2004, there were more than 8,000 periodicals in China, with a total impression of 2.69 billion, or more than 2.1 copies per person.

Along with the speeding up of information industry, the electronic publications market has already taken shape, with over 2,000 electronic publications coming out annually.

Foreign-language Publishing

The China International Publishing Group (CIPG) undertakes the publication, printing and distribution of foreign-language books and periodicals, playing a unique role in publishing, cultural exchange and cooperation. It consists of four print magazines and several websites in many languages including English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese. The four magazines are Beijing Review, China Today, China Pictorial, and People's China. It also has seven publishing houses, including Foreign Languages Press and New World Press, publishing nearly 1,000 titles annually, covering a wide range of subjects in more than 20 foreign languages. The books are distributed to some 190 countries and regions, presenting China to all countries and promoting cultural exchange. 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

This is a non-governmental international communications organization specializing in producing multi-language audio-video products (including films and television programs) and regular publications. Since it was founded in 1993, it has turned out several hundred hours of movies and television programs and about a hundred books every year, 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, customs, reform and opening-up, and modernization drive, as well as China's views on issues of international concern.

The China Internet Information Center  

This center went into operation on January 1, 1997 utilizing Internet technology to introduce the most authoritative and comprehensive information about China to people at home and abroad. Over 90 percent of its readership is overseas.

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