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BIBF at the forefront of rapid change in publishing in China
Beijing, August 21-25th 2019

The Beijing International Book Fair - Asia’s biggest – has announced plans for its 26th edition with eight exhibition halls and thousands of events to attract publishing professionals from around the world.  The Fair, which runs from August 21 to 25th2019, will host more than 2,500 exhibitors from over 95 countries and regions and attract over 300,000 visitors.
Large sections of the fair will be devoted to children’s titles and digital publishing, both areas showing growth and opportunity in China. 
Emerging consumer trends as well as digital formats, new publishing technologies, entertainment and cross-merchandising will be well represented, together with new popular genres such as sci fi fiction and lifestyle titles.
The Beijing International Children’s Book Fair – first run last year as a stand-alone exhibition – demonstrates the continued strength of children’s publishing in China, with educational titles and entertainment companies expected to attract considerable attention.
The children’s fair covers the whole industrial chain, bringing together IP owners, agents, consumer goods manufacturers, other licensed companies and retailers.
According to Fair Director Liying Lin, some of the biggest opportunities at BIBF lie in multi-channel IP, particularly in children’s entertainment: “China has become the world's second largest retail and consumer market, yet remains relatively under-exploited in terms of licensing.   BIBF presents a clear opportunity for global licensors and professionals across the whole licensing chain.”
BIBF will host a Children’s Publishing Forum on August 20th in Beijing’s Asia Hotel.  Senior professionals from all over the world, as well as representatives from Beijing’s physical bookstores, will speak on the themes of innovation and creativity and discuss the challenges and emerging trends of the sector.  Topics like how to encourage new authors and original works; marketing IP and innovation in illustration for picture books will all be a particular focus at the forum.
The Fair will also host a large Picture Book Exhibition that will build on its popularity of last year, when the 2,500 sq m display of 10,000 picture books attracted 70,000 visitors.  This year’s exhibition will feature an area where activities are centred around reading in English; picture books in thirteen different languages; education topics and entertainment with plenty of games for visiting children to enjoy.
Publishers of children's content from all parts of the world - such as Atlantyca Entertainment from Italy; Kyowon, Haksan from Korea; Shueisha plus Croatian Children’s Books - are enjoying the current growth in the market, but Liying Lin explained why original English-language material is doing particularly well:
“The Chinese government requires every Chinese child to learn English, which puts English language content in high demand. Parents are increasingly keen to use apps, film, comics, audio, online and digital content as well as books to assist their children’s education and this provides a fabulous opportunity for our exhibitors at the children’s fair.”   Children's independent Nosy Crow struck one of the biggest deals for UK publishers at last year’s BIBF, selling the rights to board book series Sing Alongs to state owned Chinese publisher CITIC for six figures.
BIBF will welcome hundreds of first-time exhibitors to this year’s Fair, particularly those representing new and fast developing areas of the publishing sector.  Amongst this year’s new faces will be Starfish Publishing (the largest publisher of Marvel comics in China), Wonderwhale (a new online platform for second-hand books), and Jiliguala, (a game-based English-learning app for children).
Several new countries and regions will also be present for the first time at BIBF.  Macau will attend as a collective stand, and the Emirates Publishers Association will exhibit for the first time.  More than half of the 70 countries covered by China’s One Belt One Road initiative will be represented, part of BIBF’s continued commitment to the initiative. 
First-time exhibitors are invited to attend BIBF’s ‘First steps’ training programme, a 2-day intensive briefing on the Chinese publishing industry specifically designed to give new entrants a head-start in the market.  The training programme runs on August 19 and 20 and details can be found on the BIBF website*.
This year’s BIBF Literary Salon will take the theme of ‘The Law of Attraction’.   The Literary Salon is intended to provide a promotional platform for authors - both domestic and international – through a series of cultural and artistic events including music and short plays.  It will also explore cross-media opportunities between literature and film, via talks attended by authors, film producers and investors.
BIBF will host two major awards this year, demonstrating the importance of industry recognition in the sector in China.  The Special Book Award (in its 13th year) will celebrate overseas writers and translators of Chinese content, while the BIBF Ananas International Illustrations Award is now in its 4th year, and increasingly influential in showcasing new talent. 
Liying Lin explained BIBF’s importance to in the publishing industry:
“BIBF is at the forefront of publishing in China, making it essential for anyone interested in this dynamic and exciting market.
“With more than 2,500 exhibitors covering every aspect of the publishing and entertainment industries, plus our industry forums, awards and events, BIBF provides a one-stop shop for publishing professionals.  Visitors will have the chance to explore consumer trends, investigate opportunities in new IP markets and see demonstrations of exciting new technologies.  A visit to BIBF is essential for anyone wishing to export to China,” she said.