By Wuping Zhao
SHANGHAI: On May 24, while Hanwang e-reader consumers find that they could pay and read Wenhui Pao and Xinmin Evenning News, two of Shanhai’s most popular local dailies, Hanwang, the largest e-reader manufacturer in the country reached agreements with 40 Chinese newspapers.
According to Science and Technology Daily based in Beijing, Hanwang is now building a online bookstore which could offer 26,000 e-book titles, as well as 40 newspapers and 120 journals and magazines for its consumers. Liu Yingjian, founder and chairman of Hanwang, said his e-reader will follow the business model of Apple’s iPad, in which his company will share a 20/80 split of the profits with publishers. However, unlike Amazon, Hanwang Book City, Hanwang’s online bookstore, mostly provides public domain books. As of now, there are no foreign titles available through Hanwang Book City. Publishers like China Publishing Group and Shanghai Century Publishing Group, two of the largest publishing groups in the country, are not cooperating with Hanwang and are working instead to promote their own e-reading devices.
“There are 41 e-reader manufacturers in China along with 3 manufacturers based in Hong Kong and Taiwan at the right moment,” Zhang Junyi, an official from the General Administration of Press and Publication says. “The competition in the e-reader market in China is increasingly fierce.”
According to some predictions, the sale of various e-readers in China will reach 3 million in 2010, and Hanwang is by far the leader in that category. Hanwang sold about 270,000 e-readers in 2009, and sales continued to skyrocket in 2010 as Hanwang sold 249,100 e-readers in the first quarter.