(Yicai Global) Jan. 12 -- Royalties for online fiction have been increasing exponentially in recent years, said a company director in China's online literature industry. The annual incomes of some Chinese fiction writers have reached over CNY100 million (USD14.5 million) as the value of online stories increases.
An initiative regarding online literature's place in the intellectual property chain is driving up the price of online fiction and boosting writers' incomes, Wu Wenhui, CEO of China Reading Limited, the country's largest online literature company.
Writers' annual incomes at the company have hit new peaks of more than CNY100 million, Wu said. In 2016, China Reading paid a total of almost CNY1 billion to its writers, with over 100 individual authors earning over CNY1 million throughout the year. Newcomers made up around 50 percent of these top-earning authors.
"In contrast to the former model where publishers paid the remuneration of writers and copyright loyalties, their income sources are now quite diversified, including online pay-per-view reading, payment and rewards from book.qq.com, adaptation of their works into TV plays, animations and films, as well as endorsements. In a way, writers are becoming stars and this bodes well for future writers," Wu said regarding the high earners' revenue streams.
"Online literature writers are the most active creatives in China right now; I haven't seen any groups more active than them on other platforms," he said. "In my opinion, more and more content will come from online literature. It will become the most important source, even though it isn't the only one," he added.
In recent years, intellectual property also guarantees the return on investments in China's content-based products due to its huge fan base. The mainstream business model in the mobile internet era has shifted from a 'user-flow economy' to a 'fan economy.' Both film, television and internet companies expect to hold users' attention through intellectual property-based products.
China's top three internet companies have already founded their online literature departments, book.qq.com, book.baidu.com and aliwx.com. Though they focus on different areas, the three online giants aim to build up their range of entertainment channels including literature, gaming, films and television.