A reader visits China Intercontinental Press's booth on Beirut International Arab Book Fair On Dec. 10, 2018. (Xinhua)
by Dana Halawi
BEIRUT, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- The cooperation between the Arab world and China under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has yielded positive results over the past few years, including the publishing sector.
One of the successful experiences in this field is a digital platform called "That's Books" created by China Intercontinental Press, which has obtained over 10,000 digital licenses from 100 Arabic local publishing houses to post their Arabic e-books and audio books.
"On the platform of That's Books, you can find Chinese books translated into Arabic as well as original Arabic books given by Arab publishing houses," Liang Chuang, content manager at China Intercontinental Press told Xinhua on the sidelines of the International Beirut Book Fair 2018.
That's Books, first launched in Sharjah International Book Fair in 2017, aims at building a strong Chinese brand in the world publishing sector, according to Liang.
"We had initially an interest to increase the penetration of Chinese books into the Arab market," said Liang, adding that "when we participated in the international book fair, Arabic publishers asked us to place their e-books on the platform."
Now, That's Books plays an important part in exchanging and cooperation between Arabic and Chinese publishers, he said.
As Amazon and other applications do not support Arabic e-books, That's Books provided a channel to Arabic e-books to reach the whole world, according to Liang.
Since the start of the BRI, Chinese people have been more interested in the Arabic Language. Many more colleges and universities have set up Arabic language schools this year, he said.
"The Chinese government has also subsidized the translation of Chinese books into Arabic and vice versa," added Liang.
"We also noticed a great demand by Lebanese people in the book fair for books that teach Chinese language," he said.
Digital Future Company, a publishing house in Lebanon cooperating with lots of Chinese publishing houses in the cultural and education fields, distributes Chinese books in different Arab countries.
Mohamad Khatib, manager of the Digital Future Company, told Xinhua that his company has published more than 250 Chinese books translated to Arabic till now and currently have 250 other books that are being translated in different fields.
"We also sold more than 500,000 books of Chinese origin translated to Arabic in the Arab world," he added.
Khatib said that this kind of cooperation has created a bridge between the Chinese society and the Arab world.
The BRI transferred the Chinese culture to the rest of the world, in particular, to the Arab world which created a bond and mutual understanding of Arab and China.