While print publishing’s had a tough time in the states and in many parts of the world over the past few years, the magazine industry in China is apparently booming. As we already know, China has become a huge market for luxury fashion, but not everyone is just buying the clothes. According to a piece in the Times this past weekend, young Chinese women are spending huge chunks of their incomes on Chinese versions of Western fashion glossies such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, etc. They’re obsessed. And Western publishing houses like Hearst are making bank.
Fashion labels are putting even more money into advertising in China than in the states and these glossies practically have more ad pages than they know what to do with. Both Cosmopolitan and Elle have to publish twice monthly over there because one would be too thick to print and Vogue added four extra issues per year. So, is this it? Is China the antidote to print’s decline here in the west?
The thing is, these publishers’ ability to make money has little to do with their publications’ quality or popularity.