Webfiction Statistics: Qidian.com

This is part of a series of posts sharing some of the research material I collected while researching my book How to Write Light Novels and Webnovels. There was a lot I found that I couldn’t fit into the book, so I thought I’d share it here. The categories listed are translations of the ones the sites use, not my own categories.

Qidian.com is China’s largest webfiction portal, with tens of millions of users and a steady stream of stories being published on it. They show their data by category on their front page, so it was easy to find, and this was the site that inspired me to start collecting webfiction site data to compare.

There are 2.9 Million stories on the site, and as you can see Romance/Women’s Fiction and Eastern Fantasy (Xuanhuan) are the largest categories. Urban (also called City Stories) refers to stories set against a backdrop of modern life, and would include business stories, dramas, superhero, comedies, slice-of-life, and most non-mystery/suspense stories (which have their own categories).

Cultivation stories are the famous Xianxia stories that are so popular in some parts of the web, while Martial Arts are Wuxia and Kung Fu stories, which were the Chinese equivalent of Westerns.

Western Fantasy is Dungeons and Dragons/Tolkien/Game of Thrones type pseudo-European fantasy, Scifi is what you’d expect, and Light Novels are anime-style stories. Games are likely litRPG stories and e-sports stories, while History will be historically-set tales. (Stories set in actual history are a prickly subject in China, so it only being 3% of stories is normal despite their love of historical tales.)

Sports aren’t that popular among Chinese youth, and Military stories are probably so low because most of the readers and writers on the site didn’t do military service. Writing about the military in China could also be a prickly subject, and is probably best avoided as well. Reality is just true-life stories, or ones that claim to be, and aren’t that popular either.

Overall, you’ll find that the percentages you see on this site compare fairly well to the percentages you’ll see on other sites. Despite the culture differences, the same genres tend to dominate overall on pretty much every webfiction site there is.

I collected data on the site in December 2017 when I started doing research for the book, and then again in July 2019. Since I collected the data twice, here are the comparative numbers.

Genre2017 Numbers2019 Numbers
Romance627492800106
Eastern Fantasy619680721722
Urban335998374244
Cultivation Fantasy211139236460
Western Fantasy134198159241
Sci-fi133498157333
Light Novels91106113490
Games96143108311
History7216477225
Supernatural5406066996
Martial Arts3700345378
Reality1454043492
Military1866520623
Sports92399109
24549252933730