Translating China's digital entertainment market – and audiences

Translating China's digital entertainment market – and audiences

In January, the Chinese government announced that the country will soon surpass the US with the most Internet users. With 210 million Internet users at the end of 2007, China is only 5 million users away from topping the US as the world’s largest Internet market.

But markets are much more than numbers – they represent demographics, psychographics, communities and fans.

Check out Henry Jenkins’ current posts about his China travels for a great read. Lead Investigator at the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium and author of Convergence Culture and Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture – Jenkins has been compared to Marshall McLuhan, and is a FanTrust inspiration.

Jenkins’ post on the differences between teenaged digital media audiences in China and North America hits home: a digital entertainment strategy for China must go beyond simple translation and subtitling.

Some points:

·     Almost five times as many Chinese as American respondents said they have a parallel life online (61 percent vs. 13 percent).

·          Fewer than a third of Americans (30 percent) said the Internet helps their social life, but more than three-quarters of Chinese respondents (77 percent) agreed that “The Internet helps me make friends.”

·     Chinese youth have been very active in helping to translate Western media content into Chinese but have been much slower to embrace participatory culture (or User Generated Content) such as mash-ups and fan fiction.

Jenkins will be a keynote, along with Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerman at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin Texas, running March 7-11, 2008 – three great headliners! The Canadian Interactive Alliance is looking for companies interested in attending this year’s SXSW Interactive. For more information, visit the Canadian Interactive Alliance website.