China Literature (Qidian) to invest in J-Novel Club?

  • Tencent/China Literature / Qidian purchased 10% of Wattpad for some $45 million. They also purchase 90% of Gravitytales.

    They are in talking to invest in Munpia (Korean #1 novel site).
    Citing anonymous industry sources, the report said that S2L Partners, a relatively new private equity fund founded by former SBI Investment employees in 2016, visited the Tencent headquarters to discuss the Chinese company’s possible investment.

    S2L acquired a 100 percent stake in Munpia in September 2016 for 50 billion won (US$46.50 million), as its first investment, and now looks to raise funds ahead of Munpia’s market debut next year.

    Could they do something similar with J-Novel Club?
    With the money, J-Novel Club could license more novels and hire more translators and actively compete with Yen Press.

    Imagine if J-Novel Club have something like 100+ novels licensed including some of the best Japanese light novels.

    With the money, J-Novel Club could be even more readers friendly by giving paying subscribers ($4.50 a month) access to all novels without needing to buy the ebooks.

    Basically like Crunchyroll, paying a membership $4.50 means you can read everything and they don't expire.

  • China Literature (Qidian) IPO recently in Hong Kong and they are worth something like $10 billion USD in the stock market. So they have the money to make investment in other novel sites like Wattpad, J-Novel Club, Munpia etc...

  • Premium Member

    Please, no.

    Qidian has some really nasty practices with authors. I wouldn't want Sam to go NEAR them.

  • Premium Member

    Also, I would much rather see JNC grow on its own. They have gotten really great books through Sam's hard work and I don't want to see the Club forced to release series that won't sell in the West just because some suit from the investment company thinks he knows more than Sam does.

  • Premium Member

    @naruto said in China Literature (Qidian) to invest in J-Novel Club?:

    Imagine if J-Novel Club have something like 100+ novels licensed including some of the best Japanese light novels.

    Based on my intricate knowledge and deep understanding of the English LN market (read, guesswork + the occasional tidbit from Twitter and Reddit), that would flood the market. The readership is simply not big enough to absorb such a large growth and sales for individual series would thus plump down.

    Now, you might argue that this wouldn't be an issue with a lending based subscription model, but again, the readership seems to be to too small for this to convince the Japanese side to even attempt this, considering that some publishers are even unwilling to allow for digital only sales.

  • @naruto not so long ago the founder of JNC said he wants to 100% own JNC.


  • Premium Member

    To be true I would fear the outcome of qidian getting his hands on JNC. Their business practice is not the best and with their ever increasing money model (oh we start with spirit stones, those you can skip advertisment, etc) I fear they will at some point use their big market share to even increase more the money gained.

  • Translators

    I've met with people from Tencent here and there (quite a while ago).

    The strategy were we to go that route would probably be to abandon licensing from Japanese publishers and start going after webnovel authors directly, scooping up IP before anyone else could.

    It would be how Qidian operates and would significantly destabilize the Japanese light novel market... Qidian would use us almost as like a battering ram to break into the Kadokawa castle and it would be a mess.

    I'm not going to say I wouldn't talk with them, but unless they offered me like $10 million dollars I'm not selling to Tencent... Their business practices up until now I can't agree with and I would not easily believe they actually have the interests of the authors and Japanese industry at heart.

  • Premium Member

    And even if they offered $10M, this is something that works once. Goodwill (in the business sense) is something that is of value as well and it is something that Crunchyroll and many other businesses forgot when they capitalized.

    I do hope that if you do sell out, it is for the right price and a group that fits your vision of what you want this place to be (and for now, hopefully a place where honest customers can pay honest prices for honest translations of J-novels respecting their authors' and publishers' IP) rather than a financing squeeze out play. I have nothing against fan translations, but I am glad to pay for real access.

    Although, if you are going to sell out to TenCent, damn, that's another revenue stream that goes to them. Almost to the point where their motto should be "What do we do? What don't we do?".

  • Premium Member

    Never heard of Qidan before this. What'd they do to piss everyone off?

  • Premium Member

    @eins said in China Literature (Qidian) to invest in J-Novel Club?:

    Never heard of Qidan before this. What'd they do to piss everyone off?

    I think people on the internet alleged they stole translations? That was the thing that got people really upset, but I think I heard their publishing tactics are suspect too. Again, someone knowledgeable on this stuff can weigh in. I never saw explicit evidence of translation theft (and I feel like that's tough to prove, especially if both translations are of "machine" quality).

    Sam (J-NC founder) himself posted on Curiosity Cat that if he had gone with Quidian and their model, they would have gone after web novel authors with zealous, pissing off the major publishers who own the light novel rights, which would have eventually led to them brute forcing their way to Kadokawa licences.

  • @eins said in China Literature (Qidian) to invest in J-Novel Club?:

    Never heard of Qidan before this. What'd they do to piss everyone off?

    They did stuff like this (reddit discussion here).

  • Premium Member

    That's interesting. I'm glad you decided to not go with that approach. From what I've learned of Japanese business, relationships are important. I feel like you'd ruin whatever industry connections you may have garnered over the years if you tried something like that.

    Stolen translations? Yeah, that'd piss some people off.

    Thanks for the links. From what I've gathered, a fan translation site was starting to turn semi-pro and made a handshake deal with Qidan while in negotiations. During the negotiations Qidan drove a hard bargain, possibly trying to bully the site into submission, but they didn't cave. So, Qidan tried to smear, failed miserably, and took what was translated from the translators and put it up on their site verbatim. Did I get that right?