BEIJING, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- China's newspaper circulation in 2010 was expected to surpass 50 billion, rising 13.9 percent year on year and continuing to rank first in the world, said a senior Chinese publication official Monday.
Liu Binjie, director of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), told Xinhua in an interview that 25 mainland dailies stood among the top 100 dailies in the world in 2010.
Moreover, the total output value of China's press and publication industry exceeded 1 trillion yuan (151 billion U.S. dollars) in 2009, with the variety and quantity of publications both ranking first in the world.
"The press and publication industry is hopeful to become one of China's pillar industries," Liu said.
According to the figure from the U.S. Audit Bureau of Circulations, the circulation of U.S. newspaper dropped by five percent from March 2010 to September 2010. The circulation in Britain also decreased slightly.
"It's the reform of cultural systems that spurs the big progress in China's press and publication industry," Liu said. "It makes the for-profit cultural products integrate with the market, capital and customers under market mechanisms."
In the past five years' reform, more than 3,000 Xinhua Bookstores, China's largest state-owned book seller, and other agencies in charge of government departments like publishing houses, have accomplished the transformation to enterprises that compete with other book sellers.
Also, private and overseas capital have jointly entered printing and distributing sectors in this industry.
The industry now has 44 listed companies with a total market value of more than 570 billion yuan.
According to Liu, booming Chinese publications in recent years have gained increasing interest from foreign publishers, thereby narrowing the trade gaps on the country's copyright business with foreign counterparts.
Statistics showed that the ratio of imports to exports in China's copyright business in 2009 was 3.3:1, while the ratio was 10:1 during the country's ninth five-year period (1996-2000).
"China participates in more than 40 international book fairs every year," Liu said, noting that foreign exhibitors showed great interest in China's publications.
Meanwhile, China's books and periodicals can be found in 193 national libraries, and Chinese newspapers had been published in about 90 countries, with circulation rising every year.
Liu said the country also paid great attention to improving public service systems in the publishing industry by conducting nationwide public welfare campaigns to promote reading among the public.
In the past five years, the central and local governments had invested over 5 billion yuan (757 million U.S. dollars) in building more than 300,000 libraries in rural areas.
Recently, another 2.6 billion yuan was invested to make libraries available in all villages before 2012, Liu noted.
Additionally, Liu said the country was considering the establishment of a national reading festival to popularize reading for all citizens.