Chinese online literature spreads overseas with 'cultural diversity'
Published: Feb 05, 2024 10:41 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Tencent Video

Photo: Courtesy of Yuewen

The Yuewen Global IP Awards were aired on Chinese streaming giant Tencent Video on Monday night, marking a new start for China's online literature and reflecting its ambition to establish a global presence. 

The awards, which were held in Singapore in late January, celebrate Chinese literature and recognize distinguished authors, creators, and artists in the field, as well as their works across digital entertainment mediums such as animation, film, TV series and games.

The success of these Chinese works "lies in the fact that they feature elements of culture, history, and mythology that are unique to China, offering both domestic and international audiences insight into the richness and diversity of Chinese culture," Anson Tan, general manager of streaming giant Viu Singapore, told the Global Times in an email interview. 

The overseas expansion of Chinese online literature and its adaptations have ignited fervor internationally, driven by the tantalizing and diverse narratives that Chinese online literature offers. 

Viu Singapore has witnessed the success of many hit Chinese shows, mostly adaptations of popular Chinese online literature, which "spans a variety of genres and themes that appeal to a diverse audience." 

With engaging and enthralling storylines, readers can easily discover narratives that resonate with their interests, allowing them to deeply immerse themselves in the plot. 

When it comes to TV dramas adapted from novels, Tan said that we observe that genres which do exceptionally well on the platform include costume, fantasy and romance. 

This is evidenced by the stellar ratings of Back from the Brink, Love like the Galaxy and season one of Lost You Forever as they made it onto the list of Viu Singapore's Top 20 most-watched titles of 2023. Lost You Forever captivated audiences so successfully that "our viewers frequently write in to ask for the release of the second season."  

Photo: Courtesy of Tencent Video

Photo: Courtesy of Yuewen

The fantasy and romance elements found in Chinese fantasy, or xianxia, TV dramas are difficult to replicate in other countries, which make them uniquely attractive. "The subsequent adaptation of these novels into films, dramas, web comics, and games expands the influence of these stories, introducing them to a broader audience with diverse interests. This multi-platform strategy plays a crucial role in globally disseminating and fostering appreciation for Chinese online literature," explained Tan. 

Behind all these is Yuewen, which mainly develops intellectual property (IP) based on online literature. Yuewen is known for trailblazing a pay-to-read model in China's online literature industry, which has made it one of the most popular choices for authors looking to earn a living from online fiction. Now it has over 200 million monthly active users in all platforms.

The highly anticipated Guardians of the Dafeng featuring Dylan Wang will be Yuewen's major production in 2024. During the prestigious ceremony, Guardians of the Dafeng was recognized with the esteemed title of "most anticipated adaptation." 

Photo: Courtesy of Tencent Video

Photo: Courtesy of Yuewen

Through the award ceremony, Hou Xiaonan, the CEO and president of Yuewen, aimed to enhance the global influence of Yuewen's original IPs. In the last two decades, the Chinese online literature industry has been at the cutting edge of technological and business innovation and many Chinese IPs have won over audiences around the world. 

Only for Love, also starring Wang, has captivated audiences with its compelling storyline, producing significantly high viewership on Viu's platforms across the markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar. The novel-adapted drama My Boss saw its viewership peak at the No.1 spot (week of January 15 to 21) on platforms across the markets of Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. 

"These examples showcase the regional recognition and success achieved by Chinese content based on online literature. Evidently, Chinese content is set for significant growth. Global audiences are increasingly recognizing and embracing the richness and uniqueness of these storytelling traditions. With its dynamic and innovative nature, Chinese content creation is positioned to make significant strides on the international stage and we are thrilled to be part of this transformative journey," he said.