There is plan to rationalize the eighty publishing houses currently affiliated with various ministries and commissions of the Chinese central government are to be corporatized by the end of 2009. This according to China’s national media and publishing regulating body.
The General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) wants to shed 148 of these Beijing-based publishing houses over the next two years.
The total assets locked-up in these official publishing houses amounts to approximately RMB100 billion. However, it remains unclear who will be in control of these assets after the reforms are completed.
During the reform, six or seven giant publishing groups devoted to broad areas such as education, science and technology, economics and health care will be established from the publishers.
So why is this being done? Liu Binjie, director of GAPP in an interview with state media CCTV, said, "Some publishing houses have become ‘small gold storage ponds’ to the ministry or commission above them, and are used to fund handouts and bonuses to the ministry’s workers."
He candidly went on to admit that "some ministerial chiefs asked me to first find a solution to this problem before cutting off the source of their company’s bonuses."
EEO.com.cn said experience has shown the cost of corporatizing publishing houses is likely to be quite expensive.
The illustration is by Zhao Hongben. He was born in Shanghai in 1915. When young, he was active both as a publisher and as a designer of more than 120 comic strips. From 1950 onward, he was engaged in designer comic strips for Xinhua shudian (New China Bookstores) , the East China People’s Publishing House (1951), and the Shanghai People’s Fine Arts Publishing House (1956). He retired in 1985.