British Council Creative Economy

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Dai Qin

Dai Qin


In 2012 Qin and her team started the digital publishing/reading service, Douban Read. The platform encourages non-professional writers to publish their non-fiction works. The Douban Read app, has been downloaded by more than 4 million users, with 400,000 actively using it per month.

From humble beginnings - the site was originally code-named Noah’s Ark - the Chinese online publishing platform Douban Read now enables non-professional writers to reach loyal audiences of over one million people a month.

Part of, a social network that encourages members to share cultural content and events, Douban Read brings together a flourishing and active network of writers, readers and critics from across China. Over 1,000 new short stories and novellas are uploaded each month and the Douban Read app has been downloaded 4.5 million times.

“The idea came about after a networking dinner with friends and contacts who were discussing opportunities for self-publishing. By the end of the meal we had drawn up a huge list of things to do. Over the next three months we worked together and created Douban Read.”

"Looking at what we have achieved, it is clear that you can be entrepreneurial from within a large organisation. Others are now looking at what we are doing, as they realise this new network has huge potential”

Dai Qin was China’s winner of the Young Creative Entrepreneur (Digital Publishing) Award in 2014.She travelled to the UK a part of an international delegation and spoke at London Book Fair’s Digital Minds Conference.