Despite the fact that podcasting has been around for almost two decades in the United States, with more than 41% of adults aged 18 and above listening to a podcast at least once a month in 2021, it is still a relatively new industry in China. Listeners in China are more familiar with government-controlled broadcasting and state-owned public radio than with on-demand audio content from private creators.
Ear Economy in China
However, in recent years, the internet audio business, also known as the “ear economy,” has grown rapidly. Podcast listening has become a regular fad in many young Chinese consumers’ lives.
As a result of the expansion of commuter culture and easy access to different media content. Given the pervasiveness of smartphones in Chinese culture, all audio-visual content is now mobile-friendly. This is one of the factors that can be used to explain why podcasts are becoming more popular.
Chinese podcast listeners are estimated to reach 85.6 million by the end of 2021, second only to the United States. Nonetheless, given China’s massive population, this only accounts for 6.1% of the country’s population, indicating that there is plenty of room for the market to expand.
The Growing Popularity of Podcasts in China
China’s low adoption isn’t due to a lack of interest in digital audio. In this sense, Chinese consumers have a wide range of options, including ebooks, audio live streaming, social audio, and karaoke, all of which fight for ear time.
Regardless, China’s desire for podcasts—which is defined as any audio-first serialised episodes that can be accessed via digital streams or downloaded, as well as heard as podcasts via video platforms—is apparent.
Chinese tech companies, including some of the country’s most well-known digital giants, are jumping into the booming audio category, establishing dedicated “podcast” sections. Tencent Music and Entertainment, for example, has recently been promoting “long-form content.”
Chinese Podcast Listeners’ Demographics
The root of China’s developing podcast market is a growing demand for tailored, personalized, and individualised media tastes as a result of economic liberalisation and urbanisation. The thriving sector includes a wide range of themes, from travel to hobbies — and everything in between.
In terms of audience, over 68.2% of respondents live in top-tier or coastal cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, according to the PodFest China 2020 Chinese Podcasting Listeners and Consumption Survey. The majority of podcast listeners are under the age of 35, with more than 88.5% being under the age of 35.
Podcasting is also popular among the well-educated, with 86.4% of listeners having a bachelor’s degree or more, but only 28.6% of short-video users had attended college.
China’s podcast sector appears to have a bright future. In 2019, China’s podcast sector generated US$193 million in revenue, making it the world’s fastest-growing podcast market. The market is expected to grow at a 37.3% CAGR before 2024, reaching a total value of US$689 million in 2024, owing to increased listener numbers, making China the world’s second-largest market if the revenue target is met.
However, the market expansion will need to be closely monitored in the future. With only 6% of the population reporting that they listen to podcasts, there is a lot of room for expansion. As a result, starting a podcast for your company could be a wise decision for the future of your business.
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