Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Leapfrogging at Dragonsource

Thanks to Don Kummerfeld, President of the international magazine publishers association FIPP for directing me over lunch yesterday to Dragonsource [site in Chinese only]. This Sino/Canadian venture is providing a database of over 1,100 Chinese language magazines covering 34 topics including business, economics, fashion, entertainment, film and travel. It has both professional and consumer applications and offers library subscribers opportunities to subscribe to 100, 150, 200 or 300 magzines at a time.

The company says that 80% of titles are available within two weeks of being printed and that back issues are available free of charge. We gather that the software used for viewing, developed in Korea, is similar in quality and style to Zinio.

This has spurred thoughts and discussions, for the second time in the space of a week, about how Chinese media is leap-frogging stages in the development curve experienced by other, currently more developed markets. We saw it in telecoms when consumers went straight from no phone to mobile phone. In the media, some may start consuming magazines on a regular basis for the first time online. Will they ever want to carry a paper version with the bathroom or anywhere else?

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