Tech Planet learned on Wednesday that ByteDance is testing the paid novels market. The company had recently launched the “Douwen Novel” App which is meant to be a small scale version of a potentially larger business push later on.
“Douwen Novel” will focus on high-quality and ad-free novels. In terms of functionality, the app will support a variety of custom settings such as font size, background color and page turning methods. Different from other reading applications, Douwen Novel is mainly divided into male and female categories in an effort to create an exclusive reading space for users.
At present, Douwen Novel mainly hosts online novels, including topics such as fantasy, history, fairy tales and urban life.
The app also adopts a paywall with which readers will need to pay a certain amount of “book coins” to read the next chapter of a novel. Moreover, the app features a “monthly reading” subscription which will allow users to read as many books as they can for free within a month’s time.
The app is the latest in ByteDance’s efforts to enter the paid novel market. Up until now, the company has created a paid novel product matrix that has begun to take shape, including six reading products that have been launched, such as Douwen Novel and Changdu Novel, as well as two products, Cuiguo Novel and Bingke Novel, which have not yet been launched.
Currently, Tomato Novel, a free product owned by ByteDance, has held onto top spot in China’s free novel market. Although free novels often rely on a large number of fantasty novels while offering the full text free of charge, they rely on advertising to generates profits and can often be less friendly to users’ reading experience. They can also lack substantial, interesting content. Therefore, launching paid novel applications is seeing a rise in popularity.
ByteDance is also developing its overseas reading business, thanks mainly to the large number of overseas Chinese expats.
According to a report released by iResearch on China’s Internet Literature Going Abroad 2020, the number of overseas users of Chinese online literature has reached 31.935 million, and the overseas market scale has reached 460 million yuan ($72.40 million). Over 91% of overseas readers follow Chinese online literature almost every day, with an average reading time of 117 minutes, and 87.1% of overseas users are willing to pay for Chinese online literature.