Copy2China is exactly what it sounds like: A Chinese company clones a foreign website or business. Most clones start with ‘perfection’ (an exact replica) though many later evolve in their own direction.
But for foreign sites, knowing that you’re cloned in China and observing the clones can provide insights to China, ranging from product localization to user reactions. With that in mind, I present Shanzhai Factory as a review of the state of C2C in China.
“When God fills your left hand, he will secretly take from your right hand.” This is a self-profile by Diandian founder Jack Xu. Xu was on the team of ChinaRen, a first generation SNS in China. He was later at the team who later again was on the team of Xiaonei which became Renren and enlisted in U.S. He was enrolled into Tsinghua University majored in computer science at the age of 16, before Tsinghua he had no idea what a computer looked like, today he is at the core of the internet industry in China.
Jack Xu, founder of the Chinese lite-blog Diandian.com, a close copy of Tumblr, has fired back at the social network Renren for blocking users from sharing any links to Diandian and other selected services.
For all the lip-service paid to “open”, many Chinese sites are still more like walled gardens.
Renren blocks its users from sharing links to certain competitors in social and group-buying. When a user attempts to share a post on the lite-blog DianDian it returns the error message: “Posting failed, this news contains unsuitable content, please review it” (see screenshot). The same goes for a link to a deal on the group-buying site Meituan. Or a link to the mobile group-messaging service Mi Liao by Xiaomi.
Zhihu (知乎), China’s Quora clone, and DianDian (点点), China’s Tumblr clone, have both recently moved into InnovationWorks, the startup incubator founded by Kaifu Lee. InnovationWorks is apparently incubating (hosting and mentoring) as well as investing in these firms, though terms have not yet been released.
Tumblr, a quick-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 saw immediately that we now have a perfect Tumblr clone in China.
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