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Why Discover China is popular in the West

(People's Daily/Zhang Fangman)
(File photo)

When Discover China made its debut at the Frankfurt Book Fair three years ago, people paid more attention to the cooperation between the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press (FLTRP) and Macmillan Publishers Ltd. in producing the audio-visual Chinese learning textbook.

This mandarin textbook has been selling well in Europe, Australia, Canada, and many other English-speaking countries in the past three years, and its second volume has recently been published. Its growing overseas sales prove that it is "the best mandarin textbook made by FLTRP through international cooperation".

The global popularity of Discover China shows that it is important for domestic publishers to cooperate with foreign counterparts when expanding overseas.

Content: differences

Catering to foreign learners' needs in the Internet era

The number of foreigners learning Chinese will reach 100 million within a few years.

"Similar content is a major bottleneck to the publication and promotion of Chinese language textbooks", said Hao Zhensheng, director of the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication. The compilers of many Chinese textbooks have not studied the reading habits of foreign readers, and "have chosen content freely, leading to textbook homogenization."

By contrast, Discover China, which was first published in September 2009, is a great success. This mandarin textbook uses several different media such as text, sound, and the Internet, and spreads Chinese culture while teaching the Chinese language. Each character in each story has been designed carefully, and even their ages are set after repeated deliberation. "Characters should serve teaching purposes, and be familiar to the target market." said Man Xingyuan, director of the FLTRP's Chinese division.

According to market feedback, Discover China has hit the bull's eye. "Nobody likes boring rote learning. Discover China is special because it is interesting, authentic, and interactive, which lets Westerners enjoy the fun of learning Chinese," said Liu Jun, Macmillan Publishers' chief executive for Greater China.

Source: ecns.cn
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