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Online Publisher China Literature Moves to Quell Author Unrest

By Yang Ge / May 07, 2020 01:13 PM / Society & Culture

Less than two weeks after a major shakeup at the top of one of China’s leading online literature providers, the new management team is moving quickly to quiet cries of discontent among its top authors.

China Literature’s new top brass met with some of the company’s select writers on Wednesday to address their concerns on topics like copyright ownership and paid-versus-free business models. The new management team said discussions were still in progress for a free-read mechanism, but that the model for paid literature offerings would be consolidated and expanded in the future.

Authors were also told they would be able to decide which of their offerings would be free or paid. New CEO Cheng Wu and new President Hou Xiaonan also assured the ranks that inappropriate clauses in their current contracts would be amended and new contracts introduced in the near future.

In their defense, the new management pointed out that contracts at the heart of frayed relations have been in place since last September — well before the new team replaced China Literature’s founding team in a move announced on April 27. The new team came from the ranks of internet giant Tencent, which is China Literature’s biggest stakeholder with 57% ownership at the end of last year.

The management overhaul came as China Literature shifts from making money off subscriptions and advertising toward a business model that generates a growing portion of revenue from selling the rights to produce its platform’s content to movie and TV studios.

Contact reporter Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

Related: China Literature Replaces Founding Managers With Team of Tencent Executives


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