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Growing Chinese Online Literature Market Leads to Film, TV, Game Adaptation Boom

China’s fast-growing online literature market has become an important source of inspiration for studios as film, TV, and online game adaptations of popular titles proved to be a major success in 2017.

According to a report released this week by Chinese research firm iResearch, the market for online literature — fiction stories published on the internet — has grown to 12.8 billion yuan ($1.96 billion) in 2017, up 32.1% from the previous year. The growth is expected to reach 18.2 billion yuan ($2.79 billion) by 2019.

The report said more people are willing to pay to read high-quality online novels and the Chinese government’s measures to fight internet piracy have helped to boost the figures, as protection of authors’ IP has been strengthened.

More studios are also eyeing online literature for creative ideas as more than half of the 1,204 respondents of the online survey said they will watch film and TV adaptations of online literature.

TV adaptations were said to be more popular. More than 60% said they have watched TV series based on internet novels, followed by 58.2% who have watched web series adaptations. More than 57% said they have watched film adaptations, but only 32.9% have watched web movie adaptations.

Anti-corruption crime thriller series “In the Name of People,” adapted from the online fiction of the same name, became the decade’s most popular TV series in China, according to TV ratings reports.

Youth soap web series “Old to Joy,” also an adaptation of the popular online novel of the same name by A Nai, had a two-season run with a total of 99 episodes, totaling 22 billion visitors when the series was released online.

“Yu Zui,” a crime thriller web series based on the novel of the same name by Chang Shuxin, had 2.2 billion views on China’s web portal iQiyi.

Success does not limit to film and TV adaptations. Teen soap “Mr. Bodyguard,” based on the online fiction of the same name, also has an RPG game version, which has more than 1 million registered users with more than 50 million visitors per month.

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