LinkSure Free Literature — Free Access to Online Literature in China
What is another wonder in China other than the four new great inventions? Online literature. According to South China Morning Post, Chinese internet literature has been regarded as one of the four cultural wonders of the world, together with Hollywood films, Japanese anime, and Korean dramas.
In August, LinkSure Literature launched a free reading app named LinkSure Free Literature. The app uses online commercials to replace the traditional VIP “pay-to-read” business model. It set a precedent in online literature, with other mobile content apps like Qutoutiao following suit.
According to the People’s Daily, in 2017, out of the 700 million netizens in China, viewers of internet literature take up about 333 million, accounting for 45.6% of the total. Among them, over 304 million users are more likely to read on their mobile phones. The novels are usually easy-to-read and plot-based, which is perfect for reading in broken intervals. Whether it’s on the subway or at the bus station, you could always see people reading novels on their phones in China.
WIFI Master Key also played an important role in diverting streams for this app. According to LinkSure Literature, 40% of the app’s streams would contribute to WIFI Master Key, LinkSure Net work’s key product.
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Commercial-based business model
Internet IP are gaining ground as many popular TV series and movies are adopted from online literature. As reported by xinhuanet, up until December 2017, a total of 1195 adapted movies, 1232 TV series, 605 games, and 712 animations were derived from the novels from 45 major online literature websites in China. However for years, the business model of the online literature platforms were simple. The popular novels are usually free for the first dozen chapters. Then users are asked to pay a fee for subsequent chapters, while the platforms share the income with the respective authors. Take qidian.com, the largest Chinese original content website for example, it adopts the VIP pay-to-read system, opening up VIP chapters to paid subscribers only and charging based on wordcount (0.05 yuan per thousand words).
Wang said: “Currently the wordcount-based pay-to-read business model is very common in this field. It has brought authors considerable income, but at the same time resulted in some tediously long works and homogenization. We launched this free reading app to encourage authors to publish more diversified content, satisfying readers of different tastes. We will also share the income generated by advertisements with the authors to create a sustainable development model that benefits both the platform and the authors. We will also keep the pay-to-read model to provide users with a choice.”
As for copyright issues, this would be a potential solution to pirated resources as users would have free access to original content. Online literature has always been pillaged by rampant piracy. Sometimes as soon as a writer posts an original work, his novel will appear in another website a few minutes after. It’s no surprise that many often seek out pirated content over authentic ones since when it comes to literature, quality remains unaltered and they’d get the latest update for free.
“It lowers the threshold for reading”, as Wang recalled. “Back in 1999, when our generation began to learn about the internet, all the services online were free. The only expensive thing was internet access fees. From WIFI Master Key to LinkSure Literature, I’ve always insisted on the mentality of ‘free’.”
Benefiting users in third or fourth tier cities
At the LinkSure Network strategic launch event on Nov. 27, a speaker mentioned that fast growing small-town population has a lot of market potential in this internet era. In 2018, nearly 60% of the netizens come from third- and fourth-tier cities, with 26% coming from third-tier cities. These netizens are characterized by more abundant free time, less economic pressure, and rising desires for entertainment.
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In the near future, the demographic dividends will continue to shift from first and second-tier cities to third-tier and lower-tier cities. Free access to original online literature would also shape a better sense of culture for the society and raise the productivity of great authors, thus forming a virtuous cycle.
The birth of this app coincides with the core value of LinkSure Network: connecting the world with people. It won’t be long before free online reading becomes ubiquitous, benefiting users of wider ranges across the world.
Featured photo credit to xinhuanet