China Focus: China's Podcast Industry Flourishes With Growing Listeners

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China Focus: China's podcast industry flourishes with growing listeners

BEIJING, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 25th Jun, 2024) Yan Biwen has grown accustomed to spending over half an hour daily listening to podcasts while out and about, or at home cooking, initially favoring English podcasts but now preferring Chinese ones.

"The podcasts offer me companionship. When I listen to opinion podcasts, my thinking skills also improve," said Yan, 26, an office worker in east China's Zhejiang Province.

Yan is among a growing number of young people who increasingly enjoy listening to Chinese podcasts. Data from Ximalaya, an online audio-sharing platform, shows that the number of Chinese podcast listeners exceeded 220 million in 2023, and over 60 percent of its users are aged 24 to 40.

"The content and listener groups of podcasts have become younger," said Wu An, an employee with Ximalaya, adding that content related to comments on hot issues, cultural history and entertainment has proved popular among users.

According to industry insiders, podcasts' popularity in China can be linked to their ability to meet the emotional, knowledge and social needs of younger people.

"A podcaster is like a 'friend in your ears,' creating a private space for the listener, in which the listener can have an emotional experience and develop a personal connection," said Qian Jian, a professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law.

Liu Xiaoxiao, 32, prefers to listen to inspirational stories during rush hour. "Podcasts have emotional value. The content sometimes reminds me of my own experiences, and this gives me strength," she said.

Podcasting also serves as a channel for information exchange.

A PhD student surnamed Li is the owner of a technology podcast that specializes in analyzing industry trends, targeting people interested in artificial intelligence (AI).

Li said that through programs, listeners can gain more knowledge about the industry, and she has also developed a keen eye for industry trends.

Cao Ning, a podcaster on Xiaoyuzhou FM, a popular Chinese podcast app, has more than 220 episodes spanning interviews, film reviews and book reviews, amassing approximately 140,000 subscribers.

Cao said that he has reaped a following of like-minded fans and friends. "Every time I interact with my guests, it becomes a learning experience. Podcasts help rebuild the trust in verbal communication."

"In China, the podcast industry is a blue ocean with development potential," said Yuan Ying, a veteran podcaster. She told Xinhua that although China's short video and live broadcast industries have developed more rapidly than the audio industry, podcasts will capture users' attention when videos no longer meet their needs.

"China's podcast industry is still in its early stages, and most creators do not seem to reap significant rewards," said He Jing, head of Lizhi FM, a popular Chinese radio platform, adding that efforts have been made by the platform to promote podcast commercialization.

Wang Ye, a podcaster for over a decade, noted that new technologies, such as AI and video conferencing software, have simplified the podcast production process and promoted podcasts to potential listeners, boosting the development of China's podcast industry.