This is a report of Asiajin Shanghai Meetup which was held on July 24th. The meetup was held at Sunstyle showroom in Shanghai Sculpture Space. Thank you so much to Gang Lu and George Godula for securing a venue.
More than 20 people have gathered to the event on this very hot day in Shanghai.
Five people have talked about country situation and their startup experiences.
Situation of Japanese startups by Shunichi Arai (me)
Online collaborative drawing tool ‘Cacoo‘ by Shinsuke Tabata.
What’s happening in China by Gang Lu.
Social game ‘Happy Tower’ for Mixi platform by Yong Zhao.
I talked about the Japanese situations and trends, but I’ve quite surprised by that many attendees already know about Japanese Web industry quite well. So, we could do a very detailed discussion.
We have a few Chinese speakers to compare and discuss the industry between Japan and China. Gang Lu, the founder of OpenWebAsia workgroup, gave a great talk about Chinese Web industry. Unfortunately I was not good at time management, so we had not many time to discuss about that.
Yong Zhao is a long-time reader of Asiajin, and he has kindly invited me to his company called ‘Kingnet’.
Kingnet is a company providing social games to many platforms including Mixi platform. Their game called ‘Happy Tower’ is very successful in many platforms.
The uniqueness of Tieba is that it combined search engine and forum, by guiding search results to related discussion boards. If the searched word did not have a counterpart forum, users are suggested to create one.
On July 27th 2010, Baidu Japan [J] launched the Japanese localized version of Baidu Tieba under Baidu Japan, which entered into the market in 2007.
The new Japanese version has the same subdomain Tieba so that the URL is http://tieba.baidu.jp/ [J]. Interestingly, Baidu expect users pronounce “Tieba” as “te ieba” in Japanese, which means “speaking of (noun)”. The same sounds, different but well explaining the service’s characteristic on where users enjoy association of words.
贴吧(Tieba, Chinese) -> てぃえば(Tieba, Japanese)
Tieba was one of the Baidu’s driving force to thrive in Chinese web. As there are no direct competitors in Japanese web, bringing it may have some possibility to change the game for developing Baidu Japan.
The three Chinese letters, pronounced the same “Rakuten” are consist of original “Rakuten” in Japanese two letters and a new letter at the middle of original two.
The first letter may look very different, it was simplified in mainland China, and means enjoyable in Japanese.
The second letter newly added in Chinese one means “cruel” in Japanese but Rakuten explains that the letter means “cool” in China.
The original Japanese version letters have been used in China by South Korean-Japanese food and shopping conglomerate Lotte. So there are localization conflict of brands. Interestingly, both Rakuten and Lotte own a baseball team in the same league (Pacific league) in Japan.
The Japanese and Chinese web industries keep getting closer together. Yesterday Tokyo-based Internet behemoth CyberAgent (currently listed at the Tokyo Stock Exchange with a $1 billion market cap) announced it will take a 20% stake in mAPPn, an Android development firm with offices in China, Taiwan and the US (the press release in Japanese is here).
Financial details of the deal, which was handled by CyberAgent’s investment arm, weren’t disclosed. But CyberAgent says the agreement is aimed at marketing Android services and apps made in Japan to Chinese customers.
Established just in February last year, mAPPn Wireless has so far managed to churn out a Chinese-language Android OS, an app marketplace and a Chinese Android fan community (next to a number of self-developed apps).
CyberAgent claims that mAPPn OS has been installed on some 60% of all Android handsets in China and expects rapid growth in the future. mAPPn is also releasing apps for the iPhone.
The current tensions between Google and the Chinese government haven’t made a big impact on Android’s future in China so far, and even Google CFO Patrick Pichette still sees huge potential in that country. We’ll keep you posted on CyberAgent’s and mAPPn’s cooperation.
According to the release, Rakuten and Baidu agreed to establish a joint venture operate a B2B2C (Business to Business to Consumer) in China market. Rakuten will invest 4.3 billion yen (about 48 million USD) in the first 3 years. Ownership will be 51 % Rakuten, 49% Baidu.
It still needs to be authorized by Chinese government, but they are seeing it will come in the latter half of this year.
Rakuten is exceptionally active among successful Japanese big web companies, who bought US Linkshare in 2005, opened foreign branch in Luxenbourg Europe in February 2008, starts e-mall in Taiwan in 2008 and bought local e-commerce company in Thailand in 2009.