Knowledge Consumption in China: Emerging Present-Day Trend?

If we think about today’s world, it gets really astounding how the new history gets created just in front of our eyes and how new technology trends are in a way shaping our behavior and interaction, both with each other and the things around us. Brands like “Uber” have made it possible to get things right away, and, thus, changed the whole concept of ‘consumption.’ And if we talk about knowledge, it seems like getting quick and immediate access to valuable information and the ability to learn new things conveniently (via the Internet) is becoming a new huge trend, which is particularly visible in China.

The American scholar Manuel Castells in his work, The Information Age, has shown that we are steadily moving from industrial into the information age. And the global economy of today is characterized by continuous information flow and exchange, and, thus, the information has become of great importance in defining the economic productivity. The rise of the trend for getting access to valuable information (and, thus, new knowledge) and the willingness to pay for it seems to be confirming his argument.

Mary Meeker in the 2017 Internet trends report on China highlighted the rise of the content market in China pointing out that a lot of people in China use the Internet for the media consumption (55% of all media platforms). She also noted that the revenue charged per hour for live streaming in China has outpaced online games and television in 2016. So, with the promotion of information consumption and the improvement of external conditions for online payment and other procedures, it seems like knowledge payment is reaching its golden age.

According to China Online Education Industry Report, the online education industry has increased by around 20% in the past few years, and it’s predicted that it will continue growing. With the rise of the popularity of smartphones, the online education is steadily moving from PC to mobile client.

So, the reports show that young people in China are now really keen on the trade of knowledge, and it’s not surprising. The new technology developments have made it possible to ‘receive’ the knowledge in much quicker and easier ways. Instead of wasting time on mindlessly browsing the Internet, one might learn something new. To meet the requirements of the new consumer, such powerful online knowledge payment platforms like Ximalaya FM, Zaixing, Fenda, etc. have appeared in China making it possible for every person to become even more educated and knowledgeable.

To pay attention to the value of knowledge and education, Yu Jianjun and his team of Ximalaya FM organized the first 123 Carnival of Knowledge last year. It was the first consumption festival on the theme of Content in China, which was aimed to call on the whole society to respect the merits of knowledge. Eventually, 2000 collective platforms of content producers were attracted, and the number of sales was up to 50.88 million yuan, which has reached the amount of sales in the first "Double Eleven" shopping festival held by Alibaba. On December 3, Ximalaya FM, a Chinese Internet enterprise held the second 123 Knowledge Festival, which has become even more successful than the previous one and has proven that the thirst for knowledge is still growing.

Yu Jianjun and his Ximalaya FM are prominent representatives of the many platforms springing up in the past year with the wave of knowledge payment. Now, platforms from Ximalaya FM, Zhihu, to smaller ones like ordinary self-media offering knowledge payment services in vertical subdivision fields, can serve as knowledge payment platforms. They form the knowledge payment market in China that can be compared to world’s famous Quora and Skillshare.

There is an old saying: To seize the young is to seize the future. Having well- educated youth is important for the prosperous future of any society. The investors have realized this, of course, and are now putting money into developing high-quality knowledge platforms. And unlike other heated fields, it is knowledge itself that makes knowledge payment popular among users. Besides, knowledge through online platforms as its carriers can be saved for a long time and can be reused. That's also the reason why investors are optimistic about the industry. And even though in the current knowledge payment industry, there still remain problems concerning the degree of learners' experience, repurchase rate, copyright and other issues, it is undeniable that the huge market and the unpredictability towards the future have made the new creation full of charm.

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