China is next in my series on top international Web apps. If you haven't been following, the other countries I've profiled so far have been Germany, Holland, Poland, Korea, United Kingdom, Russia and Spain. As this series has gone on, the comments have become as important as the posts - perhaps moreso. I'm hoping this post about China's Web application market is no exception, because China is (obviously) a huge country and one blog post can't hope to cover it all. So I encourage people from China who may read this, or people who are familiar with the Chinese Web, to contribute your thoughts in the comments here - and add web apps to the list.
I have to thank several people for the information in this post: In particular Tangos Chan, who runs the excellent China Web 2.0 Review blog, and Benjamin Joffe - CEO of Asian Internet consultancy Plus Eight Star Ltd and co-founder of Mobile Monday Beijing. Also thanks to Chang W. Kim, who introduced me to Tangos and Benjamin! Sam Flemming of Chinese research company CIC Data and Micah Sittig from Shanghai also contacted me with their thoughts.
Overview of China market
Let's start with an overview of Chinese web apps. Benjamin Joffe said "there is basically at least one Chinese equivalent for every single US web2.0 service that is more than 2 months old." Here are some other characteristics of the China web scene, suggested by Tangos Chan and with further comments from Benjamin...
Big companies still dominate the market
Tangos says that so far there are no outstanding small startups that have successfully gained the attention of ordinary internet users. For example, in the blog hosting market Blogcn, Bokee and Blogbus were among the first movers. But after big companies Sina, Sohu and Baidu entered the scene, they won market share quickly [see short profiles of these companies below]
Benjamin adds that no Chinese startup that stays a startup for long - "basically they grow to over 100 staff and get their first million $ round of financing fairly quickly, or disappear."
Chinese startups often copy the Silicon Valley model
Tangos: "Sometimes, just a copycat even without any change."Continue reading "Top Web Apps in China"