The publishing industry continues to grow. In 2005, China published 40.4 billion copies of newspapers, 2.75 billion magazines and 6.4 billion books.
Since 2002, when China began incorporation of its publishing, 55 publishing groups have been set up. The largest, China Publishing Group, established in April 2003, has 12 large enterprises and institutes under its umbrella, including the Commercial Press, Zhonghua Book Company, DSX Joint Publishing Company, Xinhua Bookstore Head Office, China National Publishing Industry Trading Corp. and China National Publications Import and Export (Group) Corp. The giant encompasses publishing and distribution by different media, chain-stores, import and export, copyright trade, printing and copying, information service, technology development and financing.
In accordance with China's WTO commitments, the General Administration of Press and Publication promulgated in May 2003 the Administrative Measures on Foreign-Invested Book, Newspaper and Periodical Distribution Enterprises, allowed foreign investors to engage in book, newspaper and periodical retailing as of May 1, 2003, and wholesaling as of December 1, 2004. The document also requires foreign investors to get the Administration's approval if they plan to open such retail or wholesale organizations. At present, around 60 foreign-invested enterprises have set up agencies on China's mainland, preparing to apply, or in the process of applying to open such distribution enterprises.
Books and Periodicals
Today there are 570 publishing houses and 320 audio-video publishers in China. The state has also planned key book publication projects and established awards for outstanding books to promote the development of the publishing industry. Meanwhile, the periodical industry has seen amazing growth. In 1949, there were only 257 periodicals in China, with a total impression of 20 million or less than 0.1 copy per head of population. With reform and opening-up in 1979, the number of periodicals jumped to 1,470, with a total 1.184 billion copies, or one copy per capita. By 2005, the number had soared to 9,423 titles, with a total impression of 2.75 billion or more than 2.1 copies per person.
Along with the speeding up of the information industry, the electronic publications market has rapidly taken shape, with over 2,000 electronic publications coming out every year.