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Export Case

 

China Export Case

Online advertisement and strong sales of children's books during the pandemic

 

2022.02.14

 

Recently, I visited an exhibition held in the National Fold Museum of Korea on “Our Lives Beyond Epidemics.” From the period of the Three States, Goryeo, the Joseon Dynasty, to the modern and present-day, epidemics have always been a part of Korean history. Diseases that emerged from wars, changes in the natural environment, or foreign sources have made life miserable for people. Maybe it was our ancestors' persistence to get over hardships that led us to live a life today, accumulating all the knowledge on overcoming challenges. Even in the present day, human beings defeated pandemics several times. However, the recent one caused by COVID-19 neutralized our pride in cutting-edge science and technology. The pandemic has lingered for more than three years now, and this may be the sign that it is time for us to coexist with diseases.
For the past two years, Korea's publishing industry has sought to advertise offline and sell publications. Despite the limited offline activities and gathering, efforts helped the sector recover its sales. Interestingly, it is said that book sales for under-fives and children, education material, and sentimental essays are similar or even better than the time before the pandemic.
Unlike the concerns during the early stage of the pandemic, Korean contents' overseas licensing to China is gaining much traction. Generally, the Chinese prefer math and science-related children's education materials over others. Books similar to auxiliary textbooks in form and contents are getting positive feedback to help children learn after the pandemic is over. Complete series of informational picture books or serialized educational cartoons are significantly more popular than others.

 

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Chinese: The Bizarre Adventure of Math series

 

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Korean: Purunet Math Concept Cartoon series

 

 

For instance, the Chinese version of the series, Purunet Math Concept Cartoon (Chinese: The Bizarre Adventure of Math), is a storytelling cartoon on mathematical concepts for all school years that chain stores of private teaching institutes use as a monthly textbook. The series is not sold in ordinary book stores but only provided to members of institutes in Korea. In contrast, the series is sold in ordinary book stores of China in sets based on the school year. After three sets of the series for school years 1, 2, and 3 were released in November 2021, the publisher has been selling the books through various methods, including internet book stores, like Dangdang and JD.com, offline book stores, or live commerce hosted by influencers. China's well-known digital marketing platform Douyin (TikTok) also hosted a live broadcast, starring the chairman of the publishing company and Wang Fang, an anchor and a writer, and sold 2,000 sets. The first print is almost out of stock now, and the publishing house is planning to reprint it after the Chinese New Year's holiday. The series consists of one book per school year, amounting to 12. It is getting popular in China as an auxiliary textbook because the series is relevant to Chinese children as the elementary mathematics curriculum of Korea and China are similar. The series is also well-organized as it delivers stories in cartoons based on game scenarios. It has depth in content and is fun to read. The following series will be released in the first half of 2022, and I have high hopes for its sales in China.
A complete collection of science is also one of China's popular children's books. In the case of the Chinese version of Clever Story Science series published by Daekyo (Chinese: Wow! There Is a Story in Science!), the publisher selected themes, imported books to China, and reorganized the books to follow a theme for every series to meet the needs in the local market. The publisher is also actively engaging in online advertisement and sales selling online in real-time by using a Chinese influencer active on China's blog Weibo.

 

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Chinese: Wow! There Is a Story in Science! series

 

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Korean: Clever Story Science series

 

 

The two series were released some time ago in Korea but are loved in the Chinese market for their high-quality plans and contents. Some series also concluded contracts soon after release due to their excellent concept. For example, One Step Forward Math, published by Woongjin ThinkBig (Chinese: Woongjin Math Picture Book), is a math series targeting preschoolers. China's private publisher culture corporation astutely planned and concluded a contract with a public publisher to release and sell in China. This series generated more royalties than expected. It is famous as the series can be used at home to teach children because it is composed of the main book and a workbook.
Children's literature with topics and materials that induce children's curiosity is also a genre loved for a long time. Moonlit Restaurant, published by BIR Publishing (Chinese: Moonlit Restaurant), became famous by getting selected to a list of books recommended to read during the summer vacation of 2020 in China. The book was even recommended as the best writing in Children's literature of Books I Loved in 2021, nominated by some regional library associations. The Chinese publisher of the book maximized online advertisement by showing a video of the Korean author talking about his feelings and an introductory video during the online award ceremony.

 

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Chinese: Woongjin Math Picture Book series, Korean: One Step Forward Math series

 

 

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Chinese: Moonlit Restaurant, Korean: Moonlit Restaurant

 

 

So far, we have looked at China export cases. Despite the pandemic, Korean children's contents draw attention in China, a country with a strong consumption power. The popularity of Korean books in China is also proven through sales performance in the Chinese market. It is a piece of encouraging news to Korean publishers. Regardless of the market, customers want new and unique content. I sincerely hope that Korean writers and publishers continue introducing diverse materials filled with uniqueness and universality.

 

 


Written by Shin Sun-Hang (The Director of Arui SHIN Agency)

 

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#China#Export Case#Pandemic#Children's books#Online advertisement
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