By Kaikai Shi
Though I studied biotechnology during my college days, I am now working as an online content director managing social media accounts for an internet startup. During my time in university, I did not have the opportunity to access this type of knowledge. Thus, I started to find ways online to improve my working skills for my current profession. I finally found various options to learn something new and different through online methods. With this, I would like to share my analysis of the trend of consuming online content in China.
The broad background
In the last few years, the Internet development in China has made incredible growth. With the advantage of China’s large population, several enterprises have grasped these opportunities and accomplished a lot. They have made a difference on the Internet and in our daily lives. Information online is always free and it is available to almost everyone. As many people in China are not willing to pay for knowledge found online, lots of startups use this to absorb users and page views by offering free gifts such as free online courses in exchange for sharing it on their social media accounts. It can also be in the form of offering free knowledge once you have downloaded a specific app, and have this shared with others on social media. In this way, people are more likely to get information and knowledge like this online for free. As a result, not many are willing to pay for knowledge.
There are some startups that people are gradually made aware of. In the likes of Luogic Show and Zhihu live, this type of entrepreneurship provides various knowledge service platforms such as podcast, online sharing courses, one to one Q&A sessions, ebooks and so on. These various types of content are simplified by some experts. For instance, ebooks are simplified by an expert so that one can grasp the main points and use these knowledge to deal with the issues he faces in daily life. As these services can promise that the reader can master the main knowledge in the ebook, there is no need to read the entire book which can be very thick and cost too much time to read it in entirety.
All this content that are generated by experts gradually become popular in the first few months as more and more people would pay for this type of content which can save them time. Now, I will like to talk about this two factors.
First of all, I will like to distinguish information from knowledge. Information can be defined as words, pictures or methods that can be found on search engines. For example, you can find various ways of dealing with a cold on Google, and this information online is definitely free. However, this information cannot be defined as knowledge yet. Knowledge can be referred to as one or two specific ways that can treat your illness. You need time and energy to find specific ways to deal with your cold. Another way is that you can go to a doctor to seek treatment.
Information is more general, while knowledge is related specifically to your needs. So I believe more and more people realize that they do not need a mass of information, but they need knowledge that is suitable for them with content generated by different types of experts. This content covers knowledge that can help them improve their skills and understanding while helping them save time as they do not need to find the information they require in the mass library of information.
This type of content provider is popular in China as people realize they need services to help them save time.
With most content online free of charge, most people do not prefer to pay for specific knowledge. Initially, with the prevalence of free information online, several people preferred saving money over saving time. However, more people now do not lack money and they attach great importance to saving time. Thus, paying for knowledge is now becoming a trend these last few years.
With the lack of time and the escalation of content consumerism online, these have attributed to the transformation of the pay-for-knowledge model.
Though the new concept of genuinely supporting paid content is generally accepted, there are also many people trying to pirate these content, and disseminating it on the Internet. This behavior is really harmful to entrepreneurs generating content for profit.
As a user, if you were given a choice between paying for content or getting this for free on another website, which will you choose? Most people will choose to get it for free. Piracy will unfortunately decrease profit for these entrepreneurs.
In the long run, I see that more and more young people are choosing to pay for content that will help their personal growth. It is really a great trend that we take content more seriously, and hopefully this will form a concept of respecting copyrights in future.
(Top photo from Pexels.com)