On 25th December 25th, 2017, the Open University of China (OUC) Press (formerly known as the China Central Radio & TV University (CCRTVU) Press), convened a meeting to celebrate its 35th anniversary.

All of its leaders, the leaders of the China University-Presses Association (CUPA), and those of more than 10 OUC branches, as well as dozens of OUC faculty, student representatives, and members of the media attended the meeting, which was presided over by Ren Yan, editor-in-chief of the OUC Press.

The CCRTVU Press, predecessor of the OUC Press, founded in October of 1982, was a comprehensive university press supervised by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and operated by the OUC (formerly the CCRTVU). For 35 years, under the leadership of higher-level units including the MOE and the State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television, the CCRTVU Press followed a policy of serving the people and socialism, based on open distance education, and made efforts to enhance the development and prosperity of socialist culture.

In 2003, in accordance with the reforms being undertaken to the national cultural system, the Press undertook to change its nature as an enterprise and transform its management system, thereby becoming the first of a group of presses engaged in a pilot programme of reform. The Press, formally registered as a limited company in May of 2011, took advantage of the opportunity to reform its management system and regulations, strengthen its team, and perfect its quality-control system, all of which established a solid foundation for its future endeavours.

The Press has actively followed the development of digital publication in recent years, taken the initiative of meeting the challenges brought about by digital competition within education publishing, and vigorously promoted the integration and development of digital technology. It was approved as a demonstration unit in the second group of national digital-publication transformation units, and a pilot unit of the national digital-composite publication system for engineering. Some of the projects of the Press, like the Digital-Learning Resources Cloud-Service Platform and Support System and the Mobile-Learning Vocational-Education Service Operations System, were included in the project library of the national press and publications reform, gaining support from a special fund for the development of cultural industries of the Ministry of Finance. Furthermore, the construction of the Open Cloud Library Digital Publication Platform and the Hui Learning Digital-Learning Platform were completed and put to use.

Over the course of 35 years of unremitting effort, the Press has developed to serve distance open education, vocational education, and lifelong learning, with its business scope covering traditional book publishing, digital publications, comprehensive training, and conference services. It has provided nearly ten thousand high-quality textbooks and numerous learning resources to more than 10 million OUC students and other learners. Many of its publication programs have been included in the national key book-selection planning, national planning of textbooks for vocational education, and projects of the national publishing fund in the twelfth and thirteenth national Five-Year Plan. Hundreds of its books have won awards, including the Three One Hundred original-publication award. Total sales of the Press in 2016 were 420 million yuan, and it had total assets exceeding 600 million in October of 2017; it has been ranked among the top 10 university presses for many years.

Yang Zhijian, president of the OUC, said that over its 35 years, the Press has met its goals and established a solid reputation. Its reputation lies in the contributions it has made to the teaching reforms and development of the OUC. Throughout its history it has been intimately linked with the CCRTVU and OUC. Without the CCRTVU, there would be no Press, while without the Press, the OUC would not have achieved what it has. Recently, with the country promoting lifelong learning for all, the Press has been promoting its diversified development and exploring all the ways in which it can continue to achieve. Whether for its four major business aspects or five major product lines, satisfying steps have been taken, and phased objectives achieved. It has also made advances in the field of digital publishing, building the cloud-library digital-publication platform with the support of a national special-fund grant of over 20 million yuan.

Yang Zhijian said that the ambitions of the Press have been strongly affected by the crisis brought about by the rise of digital technologies, and that this crisis would need to be tackled before the ambitions could be realised. The field of open distance education has changed a great deal in 10 years, and even more in the last 20. Many companies, colleges and universities are making use of information technology, including the OUC, with the Press being affected more than any other part of it. After 244 years, the printed version of the world-famous Encyclopedia Britannica is no longer available, and numerous traditional publishing houses are in crisis and threatened with bankruptcy. But opportunities have also arisen; in particular, the former distinction between big and small publishers has become less important, and Mr. Yang believes that the OUC Press can not only handle the challenge of survival in the digital era, but actually thrive.

Kuang Guiqiu, general manager of the OUC Press, gave a keynote speech titled Step Forward and Create Brilliance. He reviewed the glorious history of the Press and its pioneering innovations of the past 35 years, and looked forward to its future. He said that the Press would conscientiously implement the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, serve the people in their striving for a better life, explore new ways of transforming, upgrading, integrating and developing its publications using digital technology in the new “Internet Plus” model of economic and social development, strive to expand the four major aspects of its business (traditional publication, digital publication, comprehensive training and conference services), construct five key product lines (learning resources for open distance education, vocational textbooks, exam and training materials, and children’s books), provide the best learning resources to lifelong learners, and forge itself into a modern and efficient publishing house with its own business characteristics and standardised management, successful in both its social and economic missions.

Wang Chunlin, secretary general of the CUPA, spoke highly of the positive role the OUC Press has had in press reform and development in colleges and universities for a long time, thanked it for its strong support of the work of the CUPA in all aspects, and expressed high hopes for the future development of the Press.

Li Jiang, vice president of the OUC’s Guangdong branch, and Zhao Liling, vice president of its Xi’an branch, talked about the teaching reforms and other developments in their respective branches, especially the use of a variety of media in teaching materials. They affirmed the importance of the OUC Press to the development of open distance education, gave suggestions for the future development of the Press, and hoped to be able to cooperate with it.

Ruan Zhiyong, the former Party secretary of the CCRTVU and chairman of the CCRTVU Press Group, together with Liu Chen, the present vice president of the OUC, and Yang Xiaotang, the present deputy Party secretary of the OUC, who have both acted as general manager of the CCRTVU Press, each gave a speech at the meeting. They thoroughly analysed the advantages and deficiencies of the Press, as well as its opportunities and challenges, and pointed out directions for future reforms and other kinds of development. Representatives of the faculty and students also gave wonderful speeches at the meeting.

By the OUC Press