As a civilization that played a key role in the invention of moveable type and helped to develop the novelistic form as far back as the 14th Century, there can be little doubt that China has played a vital and central role in the history of world literature.
From texts written thousands of years ago during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty to the genre-expanding fiction and poetry currently produced by its best authors, in fact, a great love of literature has been a mainstay of Chinese culture throughout the entirety of the country’s history. It is a land that is veritably steeped in learning.
Working within China’s unique literary tradition, JD.com subsidiary company JD Books has announced a new initiative aimed at bringing literary suggestions to potentially millions of Chinese citizens via a new collaboration with the immensely popular Kuaishou video-sharing application.
In recent years, Kuaishou has enabled content creators to reach truly vast audiences at a global scale; at present, the site garners around 1 billion unique users per month. The app’s influence certainly isn’t limited to China: Kuaishou is incredibly popular internationally and regularly tops app download charts across the globe. Like its competitor TikTok, moreover, Kuaishou allows users to upload short-form videos that can quickly achieve massive popularity; already, in fact, many leading Kuaishou users have become celebrities in their own right thank’s to the site’s astonishing flexibility and unique algorithms.
Due to its myriad of popular users and live-streamers, moreover, the site also helps keep millions of Chinese citizens up-to-date on the latest trends in technology and popular culture. By partnering with JD Books, the site is now aiming to bring a dynamic approach to literature to new generations of readers and to established lovers of books alike.
Headed by entrepreneur Liu Qiangdong, the initiative will provide first-rate book recommendations to users of both JD Books and Kuaishou. In China, the project will be known as “Knowledge From Many Stars” and will feature numerous opportunities for live-streamers to connect fans with new publications and literary classics. Undoubtedly, the project will give both writers at the start of their careers and established authors the chance to reach wider audiences keen to engage with the most compelling ideas of the day.
Even by the standards of most celebrity CEOs, Qiangdong has lived a life that is worthy of a literary tale. Having worked his way to the top of the business world from humble origins in a rural household, the project is undoubtedly close to the heart of JD.com CEO Liu Qiangdong. Famous both at home and abroad for his work ethic and for his astonishing business acumen, Qiangdong understood early on in his career that a love of knowledge is often directly correlated with success. He often credits his own rise to the pinnacle of Chinese society to a love of learning.
How Kuaishou’s user-base will respond to the new initiative is anyone’s guess. Judging by the established popularity of both Kuaishou and JD Books, however, it appears likely that the project will once again show that China’s love of and respect for compelling literature can take on new forms in the 21st Century. With a literary history stretching back thousands of years, it appears that technology has once again provided readers in China with a new chapter in literary history. Truly, that is the power of technology at its best!