Beijing International Book Fair Emphasizes Its New Digital Zone

In News by Porter Anderson

The new Digital Zone at Beijing International Book Fair includes presentations from Amazon Web Services, Springer Nature, Microsoft, and Wiley.

Running in 2018 from August 22 to 26, the Beijing International Book Fair has made its digital components more central to its programming. This photo is from 2017. Image: BIBF

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Big Data and Artificial Intelligence
When the 25th Beijing International Book Fair (BIFF) opens on Wednesday (August 22), organizers will include the launch of a new area focused on emerging digital technologies and their integration—real or aspirational—with traditional publishing.

As is seen in trade show settings in the West, this new section of the book fair is called its Digital Zone.

The fair is also developing additional programming elements: as Publishing Perspectives has reported, children’s books are also a new focus of the fair, with the introduction of a kind of in-fair festival on the topic running during the week.

Among companies participating directly in the digital arena are Amazon Web Services (AWS); Baidu Read; iReader; Tencent; and Dangdang. Announcements of further corporate entries are expected.

In a prepared statement about the digital publishing programming component, the show’s director, Liying Lin—vice president of China National Publications Import and Export (Group) Corporation—is quoted, saying, “We have increased substantially the amount of space that we originally allocated to the Digital Zone. Exhibitor demand reflects the dynamism of digital publishing and the ever-growing consumer popularity of mobile online reading in China.”

Developed as a “cross-industry platform” for exhibitors, the digitally focused area “is designed,” she says, “to promote cooperation among all-media publishers and service providers throughout the whole industrial chain.

“The innovative application of big data in the publishing industry will be a hot topic this year, and we are exploring this and many other subjects through high-end workshops with representatives of cutting-edge digital publishers, institutions and experts.”

The Digital Publishing Forum: A Two-Day Conference

At the heart of the digital focus at the book fair is a two-day conferenced called the Digital Publishing Forum on Wednesday and Thursday (August 23 and 24).

Messaging from the fair’s organizers says that the Baidu Education / Xueersi Online School and China Literature (YOUDAOLEDU) is to be on hand.

Speakers and companies represented in the two-day forum include:

  • Zhang Xia, chief cloud computing corporate strategy consultant with Amazon Web Services
  • Xu Xiao, Amazon Web Services, China education industry director
  • Chen Peng, Microsoft research and development director
  • Liu Yi, director of the Digital Development Center, China National Publications Import and Export Corporation
  • Eric Yu, CEO, Global Tone Communications Technology
  • Xie Linfei, founder and CEO of Children’s Enlightenment KaDa Sorry Reader
  • Jon Malinowski, president at Combined Book Exhibit and founder of
  • Gert-Jan Geraeds, general manager of KeAi, publisher of world-class English language scientific journals
  • Arnout Jacobs, managing director of Springer Nature for Research (Greater China) and Education (Asia)
  • Michael Evans, president of Charlesworth Publishing Group, UK
  • Liz Nealon, president and founder of Great Dog Literary
  • He Chaohui, general manager of CNKI, China’s national information construction project
  • Scott Wang, vice president, Asia International Business Development, Wiley

The abiding popularity of the “big data” meme has resurfaced in programming of the forum, press materials indicating that big data and its runner-up for most popular topics, Artificial Intelligence, will also be explored at the 2018 Beijing Publishing Summit, another conference that takes place at the Beijing International Book Fair. That one is on the day before the official opening, on Tuesday, August 21.

That event focuses on “latest developments in the global publishing industry,” and attracts attendees “from the fields of science and technology, digital publishing research, as well as traditional publishing.”

Speakers in that section of programming are to include:

  • Wu Shulin, deputy director general of the Publishers Association of China
  • Michael Mabe, CEO of the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers
  • Rachel Matus, Amazon Web Services sales manager for publishing

Last year, the fair drew a reported 300,000 visitors, had 2,511 exhibitors of whom 225 were new, and represented 89 countries interests—promising 93 companies this year. There were, BIBF reports, 1,300 journalists in place, along with more than 100 authors, and 5,262 contracts signed during the course of the event.

A groundplan graphic from the Beijing International Book Fair 2018 site. Image: BIBF

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Beijing International Book Fair is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As as an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.