China as Market Focus at the London Book Fair in 2012

In Global Trade Talk by Hannah Johnson

From the press release:

LONDON, UK, TUESDAY 7th SEPTEMBER, 2010 — The London Book Fair and the General Administration for Press and Publication (GAPP) have marked China as the Market Focus partner of The London Book Fair 2012 at an official signing event attended by Minister Liu Binjie for the General Administration for Press and Publication. The signing event follows an announcement made at the Beijing International Book Fair on 30th August 2010.

As in past years, the Market Focus programme will be supported with an exciting series of cultural events held around the UK organised by the British Council, the UK’s leading cultural relations organisation.

The London Book Fair Market Focus initiative is a key opportunity for UK and international publishers to liaise with their foreign counterparts, and seek out and capitalise on new business partnerships. The China Market Focus and the associated cultural programme in partnership with the British Council will place a spotlight on contemporary Chinese authors and China as an important publishing arena.

Minister Liu Binjie, GAPP, says: “We are planning to participate in the London Book Fair 2012 as the Market Focus Country of Honour. The press and publishing industry in the world will not prosper without the participation of China. Likewise China needs to join hands with the rest of the world to develop its publishing industry because we need a larger market to develop our strength, to compete and to grow with all other players. I hope to see more collaboration between Chinese and British publishers in the international publishing arena in the future.”

Alistair Burtenshaw, Group Exhibition Director, The London Book Fair, says: “We are very pleased to welcome China as The London Book Fair’s Market Focus partner for 2012 and look forward to working closely with GAPP and its related agencies to enhance cultural and publishing exchanges between China and the UK, and to showcase China as a flourishing player in the global publishing field.”

Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council, comments: “Many people in the UK would admit to knowing little about the lives and attitudes of the people of China. I am absolutely delighted that the Market Focus of The London Book Fair 2012 will be China. Collaboration in literature and publishing is a powerful way to learn about each other’s values and culture. Improved understanding builds trust. And trust underpins greater cooperation, improved partnerships, and stronger trade.”

Why China? Why now?

As Beijing prepares to pass the baton of the Olympics to the city of London it seems appropriate that the Market Focus of The London Book Fair 2012 will be China. The decision to honour China as Market Focus country for 2012 reflects the transition of the country over recent years to become one of the leading forces in global publishing. This follows the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by Vice-Minister Li Dongdong of the General Administration of Press and Publication and The London Book Fair on 23 June 2009. The Chinese book market is now the largest in the world by volume, and the second largest in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), after that of the USA*. There are currently approximately 600 publishing houses in China; around 200 of which are based in Beijing, and the rest spread through Shanghai and province capitals.

Over the past three years, co-operation between the UK and China has grown considerably. In 2007 the Chinese-English Literary Translation course (CELT) was established by GAPP, Arts Council England, Penguin Group, and the British Centre for Literary Translation, to offer training and skills development to literary translators of Chinese and English. In 2009 GAPP and the British Council held the China-UK Forum on Marketing Literature in Translation to raise the quality and quantity of works translated into both languages. The London Book Fair Market Focus programme represents just the latest phase in this lively area of cultural exchange between the UK and China. Moreover, through the British Council’s cultural programme, UK audiences will gain unprecedented access to Chinese authors, cultural commentators and publishing market experts.

*According to the UK Publishers Association’s China Publishing Market Profile 2009

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.