Tumblr, a light-blogging platform, is a runaway success. But it’s block of IP addresses are blocked by the Great Firewall, leaving China’s netizens without such a simple, elegant solution… until now. Last weekend, I received a beta invitation from DianDian (点点), a new startup with an experienced team. I immediately recognized that we now have a perfect Tumblr clone in China.
The Mastermind behind DianDian
DianDian (点点) means bit-by-bit in in Chinese, but the rise of its founder Jack Xu has been meteoric.
DianDian founder Jack Xu is considered a genius in the Chinese social networking industry. At 20, he graduated in computer science from Tsinghua University (China’s top university) and founded ChinaRen [a youth SNS in China]. After five years, he joined Sohu, a leading Chinese portal, where he became the Technical Director. In 2005, Jack left Sohu to join the social network then known as Xiaonei, which has since become RenRen, China’s largest real-name social network. Jack was the Chief Interactive at RenRen [and OPI's Kaixin], responsible for managing both sites’ massive expansions from 2005-2009. In 2009, Jack left RenRen to become COO at yet another Chinese internet giant: SNDA Online. With his success in SNS, Jack is considered a prodigy of social in China. And now he’s now focused on building a Tumblr clone.
After reviewing DianDian’s interface, TechRice interviewed Jack Xu about his startup.
DianDian offers the same dashboard design as Tumblr, but the beta version does not yet have pages such as Directory and Goodies, and the types of contents can be shared are only limited to Text, Photo, Blog, and Video [Text is an even shorter form of Blog].
Still in beta, DianDian offers only 3 standard themes for the user profile, with a user descriptions and followers underneath “most recent posts.” Like on Tumblr, users can also open mini-blogs within their main account, and co-author with other users.
So far, DianDian copies about 80% of Tumblr’s functionalities. It’s common for Chinese startups to begin with a pure copy and later localize, if necessary (see Zhihu, Quora clone and XiaoNei/RenRen, Facebook clone).
Will Tumblr’s Model Work in China?
My first impression of DianDian, aside from its likeness to Tumblr, is how much the user experience resembles Sina Weibo, with short, quick contents, including embedded multi-media files and a scroll-down newsfeed. Here is my question-and-answer with Jack Xu, founder of DianDian.
1). Why will DianDian be attractive to users when they already have established social blogging sites like Sina Weibo?
DianDian is a simplified Lite-Blog [Tumbleblog] social community, as for Sina Weibo [microblog] they are more focused on media broadcasting [building media platform]. DianDian’s own focus is on the mass users and their original UCGs [user generated contents], and sharing and customization of these contents.
2). Who do you see as the main competitors to DianDian in China?
轻博客是一个新的概念，目前处于教育市场，市场导入这个阶段。这个领域在中国才刚刚开始，感觉暂时还是一个蓝海，当然不排除未来有更多的网站提供轻博客社区这样的服务；对点点网团队，我们要方向跑得更对，速度跑得很快！Lite-blogging is still a new concept in China, a market in its infancy, a concept that needs to be imported to China.Because it’s a new concept for the Chinese market, we feels that it’s still a open market for the taking without distinct competitors yet, though of course we will not rule out the possibility of more sites offering lite-blog service in the future.As for the DianDian team, we need to run in the right direction, and run faster!
3). Sina Weibo has launched voicemail Weibos via mobile and video upload via mobile is coming soon. What is DianDian’s planned strategy in mobile?
DianDian has been online for less than a month, so it’s too early to tell whether it will succeed. But Jack and his team are certainly excited about introducing the lite-blog model in China.
I’ve even established a TechRice account on DianDian, so I’ll keep you posted as unique local innovations are introduced.
tips [at] techrice [dot] com