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Report of RubyConf China 2009

photo by rubyac (used under creative commons license)

May 21st, the father of Ruby, Yukihiro Matsumoto aka Matz, visited Shanghai to attend RubyConf China 2009, the first large Ruby conference in China.

The conference was an astonishing success. 450 people attended the event. All talks except keynote were given in Chinese.

Matz gave a keynote which reveals design concept and characteristics of the language. Matz emphasized human-friendly attributes of Ruby, as always he does in other conferences.

Richard Huang from Ekohe has described how the design patterns such as Singleton, Observer, Command, Iterator, are implemented in Ruby. And he explained that how are they different from Java implementation.

Robbin Fan of JavaEye [CN] told that his JavaEye website, which is the second biggest developer site in China, is written with Ruby on Rails. He explained many optimizing methods which he learned from the experience of running a popular site. It is a surprise for Chinese attendees that “JavaEye” is running by Ruby on Rails.

In afternoon sessions, Robin Lu pointed out some common mistakes in Ruby/Rails development. A guy from ThoughtWorks gave a talk called ‘Ruby/Rails in enterprise development’. A guy from PinPoint told that Chinese government is already using Ruby on Rails in their purchasing system.

Joseph Wang from SAP gave a detailed talk about BlueRuby project. BlueRuby is another Ruby implementation which runs on SAP platform. With BlueRuby, Fortune 500 companies will be able to introduce the power of Ruby to their enterprise systems.

Koz Masumitsu, a Japanese entrepreneur based near Shanghai, introduced a Ruby industry development plan of Shimane prefecture where Matz lives. Shimane is one of the most remote area in Japan, and their local government is serious about Ruby.

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Matz was treated like a rock star. Many attendees want to take a photo with him, or want his autograph.

Recipe Sharing Site Cookpad Goes IPO

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Cookpad [JP], Japan’s biggest cooking site, announced today that they will be listed to Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers section on July 17th.

CEO, Akimitsu Sano, started the service on 1998. Cookpad is a recipe sharing site with 558,939 registered recipes. The site has 6.8 million unique users and 351 million page views per month.

Cookpad has 676 million yen ($6.76M) revenue, 319 million yen ($3.19M) operating profit, and 176 million yen ($1.76M) after tax profit on FY2009.

Its sales consists of three segments, which are cooperative-marketing, advertisement, and subscription. Revenues of these segments are 399 million yen ($3.99M), 214 million yen ($2.14M) and 62 million yen ($0.62M), respectively.

Akimitsu Sano holds 69.24% shares of the company, and Yoshiteru Akita, a founder of Kakaku.com, holds 23.02%.

See Also:
* Our previous article: Cookpad The Number One Recipe Site
* TechCrunch article: A Recipe Site Goes IPO, In Japan (Cookpad)

Mixi Appli Conference 2009

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Mixi [JP] (TSE:2121) held a conference to introduce their new service “Mixi Appli”. Mixi Appli provides an OpenSocial-based application platform for developers.

Mixi Appli is one of the three services provided on “Mixi Platform”. Mixi Platform provides Mixi Appli, Mixi Connect (OAuth) and Mixi OpenID.

CEO, Kenji Kasahara briefly introduced Mixi and Mixi Appli. And then CEO of Google Japan, Koichiro Tsujino gave a very short talk about OpenSocial. Kenji Kasahara emphasized that Mixi is going to be the world’s first social application platform which provides full features both on PC and mobile.

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Hiroyuki Oyama, a technology advisor of Mixi, explained an API of Mixi Appli.

Mixi Appli has two user interfaces “Canvas” and “Feed”. Canvas is a full page canvas which works as a main screen of apps. Feed is a short text message which appears on the user’s homepage. Canvas is defined by Gadgets.xml of OpenSocial API, and pages can be written with HTML/Javascript/Flash.

Mixi Appli provides 5 APIs such as Person & Friends API, Community API, Activities API, Persistence API, and gadgets.io API.

Mixi is going to release Mixi Appli API for mobile on 24th April. Mobile version of Mixi Appli is only provided for approved developers.

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Akinori Harada, SVP of Mixi Division, gave a detailed talk on Mixi Appli.

He predicted that the next generation of Web sites are going to be based on social graph. Social graph based sites are not “globally social” like Digg, Flickr or Youtube. Social graph based services have values such as “sharing”, “contextual” and “empathy”.

Mixi Appli provides two methods of monetization for developers. One is a Mixi official ad program which pays per pageview. Ad revenue starts from 0.01yen ($0.0001) per pageview, and the revenue increases proportionally with pageviews and uniqueusers. Another is a Mixi payment API. Mixi payment API supports micro-payment.

Harada announced Social Application Award, the award which is given to the best Mixi Appli. The winner receives a million yen ($10,000).

Mixi Appli will be officially launched on August 2009. Subsequently, Mixi ad program and Mixi Appli for mobile launches on September.

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Harada also announced that Mixi formed “Mixi Fund” to fund Mixi Appli developers. Community Factory Inc. [JP] received the first investment of the fund. They didn’t disclose the amount of the investment.

Community Factory plans to release 3 applications, which are Dynamite Panic, Group Chat, and Moso Shopping.

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CTO of RockYou, Jia Shen unveiled Mixi Appli version of their SuperPets application. Mixi Appli version has special Hello Kitty items for Japanese users. Harada commented that RockYou has a larger number of pageviews than Mixi.

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Makoto Asanuma, an executive of Bandai Namco Games, said that they released an application called “Birthday Cake” which provides a special collaborative way to celebrate their friend’s birthday. Bandai Namco Games is already providing games and characters for existing Mixi services such as “PicoMiku”, “MikuCole”, and “Mixi Nengajo” (New year card).

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Minoru Kimura, a head of Recruit Media Technology Labs, boasted their plan to launch 30 applications. He showed 3 applications as example. “Kin-en Marathon” (Quit Smoking Marathon) is a collaborative application to help quit smoking. “Senchaku Sama” (Mr. first-comer) helps users to do something such as party registration or simple giveaway in first-come-first-served basis. “Commercializer” [JP] is an online video editing service which enables users to create their own TV commercial.

Sony Transfers Their Video Sharing Site Eyevio To A Startup

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Sony will transfer their video sharing site ‘eyeVio‘ [JP] to a Tokyo-based startup company called Sprasia on May 29th.

Eyevio is a video sharing site which can connect to Sony hardware products. Eyevio has 1 million unique visitors and 10 million page views per month. The site was started in April 2007.

Sony stated that Eyevio has very small advertisement revenue, and they can’t expect a large increase of income.

Sprasia is a company providing an web-based video editing software. Sprasia provides their services directly to users, and also sells their software to companies such as NTT Docomo and USEN.

Sprasia says they can operate Eyevio with much smaller cost. Also they will add video editing feature to Eyevio.

In Japan, a large company gives a service to a startup rather than buy services from startups!

via VENTURE VIEW [JP]

Agile Media Network raises $1M

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Agile Media Network raised a $1M investment from Ant Capital Partners on March 31st. They use the investment to develop new software systems.

Agile Media Network is a Japanese ad-network / blog marketing company for blogs and social media which was established in February 2007. They sell ads of many Japanese top blogs such as Netafull.

They expect first monthly profit in March 2009.

Disclosure: Motohiko Tokuriki, CEO of Agile Media Network, is an advisor of Asiajin.

via Venture View [JP]