A publishing company based in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, northwest China, is excited about their booming business bringing Chinese culture to Arabic speakers.
"We have a long list of books waiting to be translated into Arabic, and orders for these types of publications are growing. It's just the tip of the iceberg of a huge market," said Zhang Shirong, manager of House of Wisdom.
More than 700 titles spanning Chinese celebrities, culture, economics, literature and philosophy have been translated into Arabic since the company was established in 2011 by two Chinese and one Egyptian entrepreneurs. The company's publications now account for 80 percent of the Chinese-Arabic translation market.
"Thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative, our sales jumped to 10 million yuan (1.45 million U.S. dollars) in 2014 from 3 million the previous year," Zhang said, adding they have had 100 to 200 percent sales growth in recent years.
"Arabic speakers who want to do business in China are eager to learn about its policies, reforms and development patterns," said Ahmed Al-Saeed, the Egyptian partner.
"We publish a new book almost every week. Many of these new releases were translated two years ago and our translation and publication schedule is full through to 2021," he added.
Arabic readers are devouring autobiographies by Chinese entrepreneurs like Robin Li, Jack Ma, Pony Ma and Ren Zhengfei. At the Cairo International Book Fair earlier this year books about the Belt and Road Initiative also proved popular.
The translation team consists of 51 sinologists from Arabic-speaking countries. According to Ma Yongliang, Arabic professor at Ningxia University and partner of the company, translators with knowledge of China are better at translating books into their mother tongue. However, he added, a Chinese editor is always on hand to assist the translator at every stage of the process.
Book publication accounts for less than half of the company's business output, which also includes e-books, movies and TV shows as well as comics.
"We are actively translating Chinese films and television programs into Arabic, and expanding to offer content to Persian, Thai, Turkish and Kazakh speakers, spreading Chinese culture to more countries along the Belt and Road," Zhang said.
The company plans to introduce products related to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, scheduled for Beijing later this month.
"We have launched online video-on-demand comics and TV shows, a Chinese-Arabic translation platform and language database this month to deepen exchange," Zhang added.
"We hope to open branches in Iran, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, catering to local demands while spreading Chinese wisdom to a larger world," Zhang said.