Children's Book publishing has it pretty good in China: it's a growing segment of the industry, and there's somewhat less government oversight (read: censorship) regarding book content. However, it is still essentially a nationalized industry, and the government still owns all publishing companies, though they are run individually.
Additionally, publishers cannot sell their books abroad; that's where the import/export company comes in. They distribute books to other countries, and they are also authorized to import books for sale in local stores. Thus, if we wanted to sell a U.S. edition of one of our books, we could not directly contact and sell to the bookstores (most of which are also government run). We would need to work with the import company to distribute our books to the stores.
It's all much more beauraucratic and complicated than we're used to, and it means that meeting with and developing a relationship with these companies is a huge step in working with the book industry in China. And companies in China are now open to working with us. Just a few short years ago, the possibility of partnerships with foreign companies was unthinkable; now it's even encouraged.
There isn't a huge market for U.S. book imports in China right now-- but interest in learning English is growing there, just as interest in learning Chinese is growing here in the U.S.. Right now we're doing what we can-- we have bought the English translation rights to a set of story books, and we're talking with the importers about what they need and what they can move. It's still early in the game of book and information flow between our two countries, but it's an interesting market to keep an eye on, and the door open.