China Internet Conference 2008 & International Internet Summit in Nanjing

September 10th 2008


2008 China Internet Conference will be held from September 23rd to September 25th in Nanjing. This is the annual conference organized by Internet Society of China, a legal organization, authorized. The Theme of this year is "Convergence: Driving Development, Integration: Optimizing Value". This conference stands for the most updated trends of Chinese Internet market. More

CTRIP - dominating the Chinese online-travel market

September 1st 2008


The "Online Travel Report 2007" of Baidu Data Research Center - Baidu is the leading Chinese search engine - which is based on data collected from browser cookies in Q4 2007 indicates that Ctrip is dominating the online travel market with a 51.65 percent market share. Elong (Expedia's exclusive affiliate in Asia) and Mangocity (owned by China Travel Online) lag far behind with a 12.48 and 11.10 percent market share. More

Lunch 2.0 Shanghai - August 2008

August 23rd 2008


Next Lunch 2.0 Shanghai will be on Friday August 29th at the office of Symbio Group ( Thanks a lot to Vincent for providing the space.

Topic is “Stock options for Chinese employees” and we will have Garret Wiley from Red 5 Studios ( as a speaker.

Lunch will be provided courtesy of Symbio Group - thanks again very much to Vincent for offering this.

The address is:
Tomson Commercial Building
Suite 303
710 Dong Fang Rd.
(Right next to the Century Avenue stop on #2 line, exit 1)


Please RSVP through our Facebook event page at:

Join our Shanghai Group at:

See you there!

China: Who's dominating e-business?

August 22nd 2008


In our first post of this three-part series on e-commerce in China, we investigated the rapidly developing online shopping market in China. In this post we want to take a closer look at who's dominating the Chinese e-commerce market.


In the Chinese consumer-to-consumer market, the major players are Taobao, TOM Eachnet (formerly known as eBay Eachnet) and PaiPai. According to a study by the China Internet Research Center (iResearch in Chinese), Taobao held an impressive 83.8 percent marketshare in this sector in the first quarter of 2008, followed by PaiPai and TOM Eachnet with 9 and 7.2 percent respectively. At present all three websites are quite similar and only differ in some details, and all three portals provide their services free of charge.


Taobao has a transaction volume of $6.23 billion in 2007. It's part of the Alibaba Group whose flagship product is the business-to-business trading portal In October 2005, Alibaba Group and Yahoo Inc. formed a long-term strategic partnership. In the landmark transaction, Alibaba Group acquired Yahoo China and assumed control of Yahoo China's operations, and Yahoo invested $1 billion and became a strategic shareholder in Alibaba Group. Continue reading

Open Web Asia '08 announced

August 14th 2008


The Open Web Asia Working Group (, of which Web2Asia is a member, today announced the first pan-Asia web technology event bringing together executives, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from throughout Asia.

The Open Web Asia '08 conference (  will be held on October 14 2008 at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill in Seoul, Korea in association with the 9th World Knowledge Forum (

Open Web Asia '08 marks the birth of new conference that will be the first truly pan-Asian web technology event. Top technology executives, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists from throughout Asia will gather for this premier event to be hosted in Seoul, Korea in its inaugural year.

The event is organized by the Open Web Asia Workgroup and other prominent entrepreneurs, thinkers, and bloggers within the Asian web industry. It was spurred by a desire to create a high quality, informative and practical technology conference focused on the Asian internet industry which to date has been lacking.

Open Web Asia will be held in association with the World Knowledge Forum (WKF). The WKF has established itself as one of the most prestigious conferences in Asia with speakers and attendees such as Bill Gates, Colin Powell, Jack Welch, Alan Greenspan, Michael Dell, and Paul Wolfowitz.

The theme of the 2008 conference is 'the Social Web'. Social has been a game changing development of the internet industry and the social web is an area where Asia has its own strength and vibrancy. Asian countries have a distinct internet cultures and market players, so informative and educational crosscountry comparisons can be made.

The one day conference will be divided into four sessions focusing on the following key areas: Insights and Best Practices, Innovations in Asia; Collaboration - An Introduction to Asia's Social Web; and East meets West - The challenges of internationalization to and from Asia. The topics were to chosen to create a forum for education, debate and information sharing.

Confirmed speakers include some of the most experienced and knowledgeable people from the Asian internet industry and a selection of business leaders and thinkers from outside the region such as:

  • Kevin Dai (CEO, Comsenz, China)
  • Arthur Chang (VP Global Sales, Alibaba, China)
  • Yongseok Jang (VP, Ebay Asia, Korea)
  • Yozo Kaneko (COO, NGI Group, Japan)
  • Jimmy Kim (Nexon, Korea)
  • Loic Le Meur (CEO, Seesmic, USA)
  • Ram Lee (Head of Communities, Naver, Korea)
  • Kent Lindström (Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, Friendster, USA)
  • Shusaku Maruko (GM, Felica, Japan)
  • Jean K. Min (Director International, OhMyNews, Korea)
  • Akio Tanaka (Partner, Infinity Ventures, Japan)
  • Bill Wang (VP, Perfect World, China)
  • Andreas Weigend (Consultant; Former Chief Scientist of Amazon, USA)
  • Kim James Woo (CEO, Yahoo Korea)
  • Kwan Yoon (Partner, Bluerun Ventures, USA)


This premier conference will offer web professionals from inside Asia and those from outside with an eye on the Asian web market and opportunity to learn, network and create business connections that will benefit both the regional and global internet industry.

For more information and registration please visit

A limited number of sponsorship packages are available. For details, please contact


China Internet: Largest number of users, largest number of broadband connections & largest national top-level domain worldwide

July 25th 2008


The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) in Beijing issued its "22nd China Internet Development Report" on July 24th. The report showed that, as at the end of June 2008, the number of internet users in China reached 253 million, substantially more than in the United States, which has been the leading internet economy in terms of users for a long time. Nevertheless, the internet penetration rate is only 19.1 percent, still below the global average of 21.1%.


Meanwhile, the number of broadband internet users reached 214 million people and represents the largest broadband user base in the world. The CNNIC report also reveals that as of July 22nd, the volume of CN domain names reached 12.188 million, which makes it the largest national top-level domain in the world. More

China: Web use accelerates, e-business still lagging

July 13th 2008


Silicon Valley venture firms and technology companies have been active in China for years, but with mixed results. Domestic search company Baidu has beat out Google for much of the market, local social networks like and Xiaonei appear to have the upper hand over international competitors like MySpace and Facebook. Similar trends can be seen across most segments of online Chinese markets. Where does that leave e-commerce in the country? We at Web2Asia have been studying the question. This is the first in a three-post series on the state of the internet market in China which is also featured on techblog Venturebeat. Continue reading

Mommy online education website flying high in China -

July 2nd 2008


At the end of March 2008 it was reported that the Chinese online education website for pregnant and nursing mothers received USD 17.1m in Series D funding.


Yaolan Ltd. was founded by Matthew J. Estes, President & CEO of BabyCare Ltd. ( BabyCare is a leading provider of nutritional supplements for expectant mothers and infants in China.


Community portals for mothers are already very popular in the US. Web2Asia met Gao Xiang, CEO of Yaolan New Media Ltd. ( and got to know a little more about the plans of and the trend of mommy community websites in China.


Please give us a short intro on Yaolan New Media.
Yaolan New Media Ltd. operates the dominant Chinese language online parenting web portal, community, and education platform Founded in 1999, the company has built the most highly recognized and trusted online parenting brand by offering quality information and education services to pregnant women and parents of 0-6 year-old in China. Currently we have around 1.55 million registered members. Yaolan attracts 190,000 unique visitors daily that account for 1.2 million daily page views. More

Facebook is not blocked “in China” but “someone there” is trying

July 2nd 2008


Chinese users of social networking site experienced frequent outages and inaccessibility during the last 3 days. However as it turns out only subscribers of the ISP China Telecom were affected and continue to be.

At closer look what we currently see happening is a classic example of the old cat-and-mouse game: Since Monday China Telecom’s servers have repeatedly blocked individual Facebook IP addresses with the US American hosted site reacting within a few hours and changing their DNS to another IP. We’ve so far seen moves from to among others and currently


Are the Chinese authorities trying to shutdown the social networking giant only a few days after it released its Chinese language versions? We don’t think so. Continue reading.

Facebook blocked in China? Update: back again/gone again

June 30th 2008


As of this evening Chinese time, social networking platform Facebook is no longer reachable from China Mainland locations such as Shanghai and Guangzhou. Only via foreign proxy server the site can still be accessed which indicates that the Great Chinese Firewall took its toll already one week after Facebook started offering its services in Chinese. ... and thanks for all the fish. We'll keep you posted.


Update: So far only the users of the ISP China Telecom seem to be affected. The site can still be accessed through China Mobile and other providers.


Update 2: As of 21:45 is working again throughout China, although slower than usually. Most China Telecom users reported that the site had been inaccessible for at least 6 hours today - reasons unknown.


Update 3: July 1st 2008, 4pm Chinese time - not reachable again for China Telecom users. The IP cannot be pinged, however the site can still be connected at Chances are high that Chinese Government is indeed trying to block Facebook through the "Great Chinese Firewall". Details to follow.


Facebook launches Chinese language versions

June 23rd 2008


Social networking platform Facebook has launched a Chinese-language version of its site in Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese (Hong Kong and Taiwan version). For the moment all servers are still hosted in the US and apart from the language no further localization to Chinese user needs have been identified.


As opposed to its competitor Myspace, who set-up operations in China last year incl. local server hosting and an official ICP licence, Facebook has obviousely not chosen to go the whole hog. It's questionable if this move is likely to attract significant attention from China mailand users who will rather prefer to stick with established Chinese social networks or rising stars such as Facebook clone Xiaonei. Additionally it puts the company under risk of being blocked by the Great Chinese Firewall should user generated content not be compliant with local Chinese regulations. 


We estimate that Facebook and its investors do not want to risk their ongoing (yet slightly declining) world wide hype to be spoiled by a failed expansion to China and rather take it step by step. Whether this was a wise move remains to be proven. We've got our popcorn ready and are looking forward to the next episode. - Chinese sentence search engine for English learners and translators

June 20th 2008


We have recently learned of a tool for Chinese learning English: It has a Google like interface where you can type in a few words of Chinese or English and find sentences that contain those words. In addition, each sentence is paired with its corresponding translation. This can be particularly useful for learning a language, since you can see how idiomatic language is translated.


ZHANG Yue, founder of, told us more about the sentence search engine, his new company Cikuu and his future plans. More

Interview with German e-learning researcher Carsten ULLRICH

June 14th 2008


Carsten, could you briefly introduce yourself and tell us what you are doing in China?

I'm a researcher in technology-supported learning (e-learning) and I'm interested in exploiting today's incredible advances in technology in order to create useful and usable applications for learners. This includes Web 2.0 technology, the next generation of the Web called the Semantic Web, and Artificial Intelligence techniques in general. Before I came to Shanghai, I was a researcher in the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI GmbH), one of the world largest and most renowned AI research centers. My work as a researcher at Shanghai Jiao Tong University focuses on supporting adult learners who have only limited time at disposal. I'm also a consultant for Totuba, an innovative start-up that develops a range of tools that support research and active learning. Although my works involves cutting edge research results, I'm not so much interested in ivory-tower research. Both my work at SJTU and Totuba aims at creating practical tools which make learning easier right now. More

NIVEA China launches new product on

June 11th 2008


World renowned consumer brand NIVEA is working on launching a new product in the Chinese market and teamed up with - China's unique consumer platform for direct brand experiences. Letstry is an online platform that enables Chinese consumers to test free samples of Western brand products. Brands need interaction with consumers to build strong relationships and that's exactly what Letstry's online community marketing concept is about.

NIVEA passed several hundred items of its new Roll-on deodorant exclusively to Letstry to have them distributed among their target group. Upon registration on Letstry, supplying their personal contact details and interests, users need to fill in a NIVEA questionnaire in order to receive the free-of-charge product sample. Once the users have received and tested the product they are motivated with extra points, which they can use to acquire samples and vouchers of other well known brands, to fill in a post trial survey as well as write reviews and recommendations. With this model Letstry can directly link a premium brand like NIVEA with Chinese consumers and capture the "voice of the customer".


Whether it's an already established product in China or a company still contemplating a market entry, with Letstry brands can expose their products to millions of Chinese consumers and gain valuable insights about the market and its consumers.


Letstry also announced that it will shortly launch a similar campaign with another major international FMCG player.

Web2Asia and amiando announce distribution partnership for East Asia

June 10th 2008


As already exclusively revealed by Venturebeat last week, Web2Asia, its parent company MH | direkt and amiando, a leading platform provider for online event management, have today officially announced a distribution partnership for the East Asian market. In June 2007, amiando launched the first European online tool for a secure, uncomplicated and individual do-it-yourself ticket shop. After gradually expanding to other European countries, amiando currently offers it’s platform in German, English, French and Spanish.

The East Asian region, particularly China, has shown impressive growth potential for foreign interactive media companies. In the first quarter of 2008 China had reached an online population of 230 million – more than any other country in the world – and continues to grow at an astonishing rate of 53.3% yearly.

Not only is China's online industry experiencing tremendous growth, also the exhibition and event industry is developing rapidly with a 20% growth rate per annum. The number of trade show visitors and exhibiting enterprises ranks second in the world and with around 4,000 exhibitions in 2007, China is number one in Asia. The upcoming Olympic Games 2008 and the Expo 2010 in Shanghai are expected to create additional growth momentum. Regarding non-business related events, the disposable income of the Chinese population is continuing to rise significantly and people are increasingly spending money on leisure and entertainment activities like sports and cultural events, concerts and festivals. Besides the well known traditional festivals such as Chinese New Year, people equally enjoy celebrating foreign festivals such as western-style wedding events, Halloween parties and December 31st New Year celebrations.

„We have a strong international focus and are happy to work together with a strong partner to further adapt our product to local needs.“ says Markus Eichinger, director of international expansion at amiando AG. In cooperation with Web2Asia and MH | direkt amiando’s system has already proved to be particularly suitable for events in Asia, such as seminars by the FORUM Institute, Germanys largest business conference and seminar specialist, or the CHINICT conference held in Beijing this spring.


Previous major international events that have trusted amiando’s technology include the leweb3 conference, Lift!, DLD and the Crunchies awards.


OpenWeb.Asia launched!

June 3rd 2008


The OpenWeb.Asia Workgroup launched its website this week at It was initiated by English language Chinese tech blogger Gang Lu at The Workgroup is a network of premium blogs focused on the Asian Web industry. These sites build efficient channels between the Asian web and the global industry, and also enhance the inter-communication of local Internet markets.


At the same time OpenWeb.Asia announced plans for an international tech conference. Called OpenWeb Asia 08, the conference will be the first and largets of its kind in Asia. It is being put together by an organization committee including industry insiders from China, Hong Kong, Korea, the US and Japan:



More details on location, date & program will be announced soon.

China Unicom & China Netcom announce mega merger

June 3rd 2008


Last month the Chinese government unveiled plans to restructure the national telecommunication industry to create more competition and to stop monopolization trends in the market. The plan urges the country's six telecom providers to combine into three groups.


On June 2nd China Unicom and China Netcom pressed ahead announcing a multi-billion dollar merger, marking the first move after the government called for action. China's No. 2. mobile phone operator China Unicom plans to acquire fixed-line provider China Netcom in a share swap. The merged group will have a market value of US$63.28bn. Separately, China Unicom will sell off its CDMA mobile network to China Telecom, the country's biggest fixed-line operator, for US$15.86bn.


Background of the deal is to strengthen China Unicom and China Telecom and enable them to compete with China Mobile, the world's largest mobile provider, through providing integrated services. China Telecom could grow the acquired mobile business with its current fixed-line customers and China Unicom could expand its current mobile business with the new fixed-line subscribers.

The merger is expected to be completed in October this year after the shareholders' conferences in September. relaunches website for its 1st anniversary

June 2nd 2008


China's online populations reached an amazing 230 million at the end of the 1st quarter of 2008. Moreover, China now has more Internet users than any other country in the world! This vast user base facilitates the e-commerce boom in China.


Last year 55 million of Chinese Internet users purchased goods online for 5.36 billion Euros (B2C and C2C transaction volume excluding travel related transactions). That's a jump of 13 million online shoppers and 2.53 billion Euros spent online in comparison to 2006. But that's just the beginning - for the year 2011 an online shopping transaction volume of 36 billion Euros is forecasted!


We've talked with Alexandre Misseri, a French Internet entrepreneur living in Shanghai, who has launched More

Facebook launched Japanese version!

May 21st 2008


Social Networking Service Facebook has announced the launch of a Japanese language version of its website and services. At a news conference on May 19th, Founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed hope that more Japanese people will utilize the site, which he said is highly safe, to share information with friends.


Facebook again turned to its users and asked them to translate its site into Japanese. About 1,400 users contributed and more than 30,000 translations have been submitted. Already the German and Spanish language sites have been translated with the support of its users. More

China begins national mourning - Internet and broadcast media restricted

May 19th 2008


At 2.28 p.m. local Beijing time - the moment the devastating earthquake occurred on May 12 - millions of people in China and overseas observed three minutes of silence. Across the country, sirens, cars, trains and ship horns wailed in grief as the people fell silent. More than 32,000 people have been confirmed dead and the estimated death toll could top 50,000.


National flags fly at half mast, public entertainments is cancelled and the Olympic torch relay is suspended during the three-day mourning period.

The Chinese Government has ordered all entertainment centric web sites and even television programming to shut down completely for the next three days. Only TV stations broadcasting the official CCTV earthquake programming will remain on air. More


Donate for China Earthquake Relief!

May 14th 2008



A devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit China's Sichuan province this Monday at around 2:30 p.m. local time, killing ten thousands of people in Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Chongqing, and Yunnan. As we post the death toll numbers are still rising. Please refer to for continuous updates.


The epicenter was about 100 kilometers northwest of Chengdu, a city of 3.75 million, and struck the area in the middle of the afternoon when classrooms and office towers were full. The quake was so powerful it even left buildings in Beijing and Shanghai swaying for several minutes and some office buildings were even evacuated. More

Musicshake releases new application, enhances community features

May 13th 2008


Musicshake, the first online User Generated Music application, today announced it has released a new version of the application and added new options for sharing and rating songs. Now Musicshakers can send an original tune link via email, embed it in a blog, or export it to Facebook profile with a player widget. The site also features new Shake charts highlighting the 'Top 50' songs and 'Best of the Best' based on community votes and expert reviews.


Musicshake makes it easy for anyone to compose original songs for ringtones, videos, web sites and more. Users can then create a global community around User Generated Music. The application requires no prior musical training or knowledge. Users simply choose a genre and combine instruments from a database of 400,000 modules created by professional musicians, and Musicshake does the rest. More

Language-learning social network released its new feature, italki Knowledge

May 12th 2008


Shanghai based language-learning social network just released its
new feature, italki Knowledge, which aims to become the largest source of free, user-generated language-learning textbooks.

Italki Knowledge allows users to create and collaboratively edit web pages using text, video, sound, and pictures - media that traditional textbooks can't offer. Students can find language materials on topics such as grammar, pronunciation, slang, culture and more.

"Italki Knowledge is an application of the idea of collaborative wikis," says CEO Yongyue Jiang. "What makes italki Knowledge unique is that it will be supported by an editing community of over 200,000 language learners speaking more than 90 languages." According to Jiang, the community will ensure that the content on italki will be up-to-date and will improve over time. More

Jimdo launches its closed beta blog feature!

May 9th 2008



Web2Asia's client Jimdo is about to release a totally new blogging tool. Starting now, Jimdo is launching the beta phase, which allows participating users to test the new functions and take and exclusive glimpse at the new tool before it is made available to all Jimdo members.


Jimdo's new blog tool enables users to simply and speedily write their own blog. What is so special about Jimdo's blog feature is that bloggers can be in charge of their own design as all elements used on Jimdo web pages can be integrated - whether it's text, photos, videos or widgets... More

Web2Asia announces partnership with online marketing solution provider Narragansett Technologies

May 8th 2008


Web2Asia, its parent company MH | direkt and Narragansett Technologies have today announced a partnership agreement for the distribution of the professional email marketing solution SpinnakerPro and the online survey tool SensorPro in East Asia.


The East Asian region, particularly China, has shown impressive growth potential for digital marketing. By the first quarter of 2008, 230m Internet users were identified in the Middle Kingdom - more than in any other country of the world. Even though the overall share of online media from most advertisers is still reported to be only 3-4%, current studies predict fast growth in the online ad market of over 50%. Mostly driven by Olympic-related spend, the total online spend in China, including email, is estimated to reach EUR 928m in 2008. More

Web2Asia appointed European Marketing Partner for the CHINICT 2008 in Beijing

May 6th 2008


Together with our parent company MH | direkt, an international direct marketing group with headquarters in Austria, we have been appointed marketing partner for Europe for the upcoming CHINICT conference in Beijing/China.


The CHINICT conference takes place for the 3rd consecutive time in Beijing, P.R. China, on May 22nd & 23rd 2008. This event is the largest gathering around the most innovative and fastest-growing IT rising stars in Asia and comparable to DEMO in the U.S.: participants are some of the most famous international and Chinese IT companies, VC investors, representatives of the world's most prestigious stock exchanges as well as "Rising Stars". Rising Stars are emerging companies on the Internet & Mobile sky, which have the opportunity to present themselves to selected participants in an exclusive environment. More

Gizmoz moves to Asia: Interview with founder Eyal Gever

May 2nd 2008


Founded in 2003 by Eyal Gever, Gizmoz offers consumers a new generation of character-based visual expression for use across their digital lives. The Gizmoz service makes it easy and fun to create, customize, animate and share lifelike, 3D talking characters that enable individuals to put a unique face and voice to their digital communications.


Gizmoz characters can be fashioned either as a self-portrait starting from a single 2D profile photo, or created using images from the Gizmoz library, all in just a matter of minutes. The result is a customized digital character that can be used to deliver personalized, lip-synched messages in video clips and other forms of original content.

In May 2007 Gizmoz has raised USD 6.3 million in Series A led by Benchmark Capital with Columbia Capital. The company has raised another USD 6.5 million in Series B financing from a round led by DoCoMo Capital, a subsidiary of the largest mobile phone operator in Japan, in March 2008. More

Web2Asia sponsors the upcoming Open Source & Drupal Camp Shanghai 2008!

April 30th 2008


Web2Asia is supporting the jointly organized Open Source & Drupal Camp taking place in Shanghai on May 17 and 18. We are happy to contribute to the community and invite all interested readers, friends and partners to attend and participate in this unique UNconference event to make it a big success.


What is Open Source Camp Shanghai?
Open Source Camps are unconference events that bring together open source developer, geek, entrepreneurs, academics, venture capitalists, technology influencer and Media for an intense user-created conference about open source, emerging technology topics. It's organized by the community, for the community. The event combines, sharing, learning, networking, and fun. Participants, who are experts and innovators in their fields, are also the presenters. The goal is to boost tech community and innovation around the world.


Meet us at Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco

April 21st 2008


Web2Asia will attend the Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco, which happens April 22-25, 2008 at Moscone West.


Web 2.0 Expo is a conference and tradeshow for the rapidly growing ranks of designers and developers, product managers, entrepreneurs, VCs, marketers, and business strategists who are embracing the opportunities created by Web 2.0 technologies. Web 2.0 Expo features the most innovative and successful Internet industry figures and companies providing attendees with examples of business models, development paradigms, and design strategies to enable mainstream businesses and new arrivals to the Web 2.0 world to take advantage of this new generation of services and opportunities.

Shanghai IT Day 2008

April 21st 2008



Web2Asia and its parent company MH | direkt is co-organizing the Shanghai IT Day 2008 and is teaming up with avenit Software AG to deliver an interactive presentation on "Successful E-Commerce in China". The event will not only offer presentations, but also exciting live shows and workshops giving the attendants the opportunity to participate in a more interactive manner.

Similar to the initial 2007 event, topics will be focused on the need to adjust the IT policy to local requirements without scarifying IT standards. Take a look at the agenda above for a more detailed outline of the event.


The Shanghai IT Day will take place on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 at the Sofitel Hyland Shanghai 505 Nanjing East Rd. See you there!


Update: please find our presentation below.

Update on the MSN (L) China craze

April 17th 2008


According to some sources by today 6 Mio. Chinese MSN users have added (L) China to their screen name. Shanghai Daily also reports that the campaign was initially launched on Monday by

Chinese Netizens love their country

April 16th 2008

Chinese Internet experienced an interesting phenomenon today when users started adding (L) China to their MSN Messenger name. Apparently millions of Chinese Netizens used this symbol to express support for their country and their love for the Olympic Games in the light of recent events surrounding the Olympic Torch run. The trend gained additional momentum when MSN China officially supported it by suggesting it to their users with an special "how to" instruction page. Here is the official Link. According to MSN by 3pm today already 2.3 Mio users had added the (L) icon.

Country Focus: China -

April 7th 2008



Web 2.0 has brought a lot of different personalities forward. What do they think of the current trends, technologies and potential for their ventures in East-Asia? Web2Asia lets you discover their point of view through interviews with some of today's most interesting internet entrepreneurs active in the Middle Kingdom, the Land of the Rising Sun and the Land of the Morning Calm. This time we spoke with Jun Lin, Founder & CEO of, an online video editing site. Jun Lin started to develop the website last year when he realized that there was no simple and efficient tool to easily create short videos from photos.


1. Hey, could you please introduce yourself and your project
My name is Jun Lin and I graduated from university in 1994 and since then have worked in the IT, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and telecommunications industry. I also gained experience in the field of technology, market research and marketing. In 2006 I founded my first internet project, which is is an online video editing site. Its main function is to compile photos, videos and music into a narrative with personal video sets. Videos are created as a WMV file, which also can be downloaded and saved. You can play them on your PC, but also using a DVD player. The video files can also be converted to 3GP and MPEG4 files which are suitable for handheld devices like mobiles and PSPs. The service can be used without having to install any software on your PC and the handling is very simple.


2. When was launched? How does the site differ from services like What are the tailored features that fit the tastes and interests of Chinese users?
Since the second half of 2006 our R&D Team has worked on the website, but the idea to establish this website was already born at the beginning of 2005. The idea was triggered by my own personal needs. I became a father in 2005 and was delighted and excited and took many pictures of my daughter. But I experienced that the majority of the existing client software available for editing pictures had some deficiencies. Most software is designed for professionals and very complicated to use. Furthermore, the installation requires several hundred megabytes of hard drive capacity and the installation itself is often very cumbersome. Based on that experience, I wanted to develop an online service providing video editing software to avoid the aforementioned problems. In June 2006 I met Xiao-Jun Hu, a teacher at Zhejiang University. After a technical analysis of the project we agreed that this service could be realized and we started developing


City!N - Another SNS for China?

April 3rd 2008


City!N is a China-based social networking site that aims to be not just another Facebook copy, but an intelligent SNS. Simon Chan, co-founder & CEO of City!N shared some information about his latest project with us. According to Simon, ISNS (intelligent SNS) will be the future of the web!


1. There is already a large amount of local and international SNS in China. What does City!N include and offer that other SNS don't?
I don't see any high quality (or ''up to standard'') SNS in China so far. People are too busy with the financial game and they tend to forget about the importance of real user experiences. But I see that some competitors are catching up, especially the VC market which is a bit quiet now. But I don't think City!N is the same as any SNS existing at the moment. We are the next big change for SNS.


2. So what exactly are those innovative features that fit the tastes and interest of your target, Asian young adults?
The magic behind City!N is an AI learning engine, which, besides connecting you to your real friends, can also study your behavior and make appropriate recommendations to you to enrich your social life. Asian young adults love to reach out and meet new friends and they also like to "show off" their tastes.


Launch of 3G in China!

April 1st 2008


China has finally deployed the home-grown 3G standard TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) today, April 1st 2008. Shanghai Daily reports that China Mobile has launched trial service in eight cities, including Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.


The world's biggest carrier China Mobile will test the next generation standard by issuing 20,000 free 3G phones and 800 Yuan (USD 114.28) fees per month to test users in return for their feedback. A total of 60,000 3G phones and 15,000 data cards will be available throughout China, the report said.


Korea: and will be completely different

March 31st 2008 

YouTube, the world's largest Internet site for sharing video clips and other user created content (UCC), is aiming to expand its market share in non-English speaking countries by further adapting the already existing local YouTube versions. A Korean version with localized features has been up since January 23rd this year.
"We don't comment on specific future plans, but I can tell you that we are currently focused on building out our product and service in the countries in which YouTube is currently available. We want to do more than simply translate the service and features into the native languages, we also want to contextualize the features for each individual market," a YouTube spokesperson told us.
As the Korean video-sharing market is already crammed full of locally grown sites, it will be a tough mission for YouTube to eat into the market share of dominating rivals. Many other global dominating websites have failed to establish themselves successfully in the Korean market as users favor local grown sites.


Jimdo introduces new social features to its Chinese & world wide users

March 27th 2008


Our friends at Jimdo today annouced a major release with great social features for their free website creator. You now can:

  • add other Jimdo-users as friends.
  • send messages to your Jimdo-friends.
  • keep your visitors and friends up-to-date via the newsfeed.

Check out the video below, download the official press release or even better: try it yourself and find your friends on Jimdo!



X | Media | Lab Suzhou “Wealth of Animation”

March 25th 2008


X | Media | Lab and Web2Asia are happy to announce the "Wealth of Animation" event at Suzhou Industrial Park from May 8th to 10th, 2008.


X|Media|Lab Suzhou will bring together a stellar range of animation experts from all over the world. International participants include:

  • Raman Hui - Director of Shrek 3
  • Michael Johnson - Motion Picture Lead, Pixar Studios
  • Duncan Brinsmead - Chief Research Scientist, Autodesk (Maya Software)
  • Suresh Seetharaman - Founder and President, Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation
  • Sue Erokan - Supervisor, Character Animation, Dreamworks
  • Dan Scott - Head of Global Production, Nokia Games
  • Masakazu Kubo - Executive Producer, Pokemon Film and TV Series (Tokyo)
  • Dennis Conner - Head of Global Outsourcing Strategy, ILM, Lucas Arts (Los Angeles)
  • Heather Kenyon - formerly Director of Development, Original Animation at Cartoon Network
  • Dale Herigstad - 5-time Emmy Award Winner, Schematic (LA)
  • Nickson Fong - Founder, Egg Story (Singapore)
  • Paul Steed - Founder, Exigent Studios (Los Angeles)
  • Madhavan - Founder, Crest Animation (India)
  • Michael Stevens - Board Member, Park Road Post (Wellington)
  • Tatiana Kober - Founder, Bejuba Studios (LA and Toronto)
  • Anand Gurnani - Founder, Animation 'Xpress (India)
  • Tim Brook Hunt - Head of Children’s TV, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Sydney)
  • Alan Lindsay - CEO, Vue DC Group (Perth)

China participants include a ‘who’s who’ of the China animation industry including: the Dean of Animation, Beijing Film Academy; President, Great Dreams Cartoon Group; Executive Deputy Secretary General of China Animation Association, and Head of Digital Media Technologies, Beijing Institute of Technology; Executive Vice President of China Animation Association; Deputy Director of Digital Animation Creation R&D Centre, China Art Academy; Secretary General of Mobile Animation Industry Association; CEO of China Animation Association; Managing Partner of China Renaissance; the Vice President of ID Tech Ventures; and many others.


More details on this event at (English) or here (Chinese).


Country Focus: China - Totuba

March 24th 2008



Here we go with another one of our interviews with foreign entrepreneurs developing online based products in China. This time we spoke with Frank Quosdorf, Chairman and co-founder of Totuba, a global education marketplace and community.

1. Hi Frank, could you briefly introduce yourself and your company?
I am German, born in Saxony, married, with one child. For more than five years, my wife and I have been living in various countries working with multi-cultural teams. Totuba is an education company targeting major education stakeholders: learners, teachers, education service providers, related bodies, experts, and innovators. Our business is a global education marketplace and community, incorporating useful tools that make knowledge activities easier for people, provide a hub for affiliate connections, foster education innovation, and provide inputs to increased education program quality. Totuba is headquartered in Shanghai, China with a multicultural mix of employees and partners. More

Upcoming events April 2008

March 23th 2008


Web2Asia's got a packed schedule ahead for April. We will start off with the Re:publica 08 in Berlin on April 2nd, followed by The Next Web 08 conference in Amsterdam a day later, then the Future of Web Design in London on the 17th and the I-Techpartner meeting in Stockholm on the 28th. For Asia the WWW2008 in Beijing is on our agenda.


Let us know if you want to meet up with us on any of these events!

Country Focus: Korea - Shake it, baby!

March 19th 2008


Musicshake, Inc. is the world's first on-line user generated music (UGM) creation solution that provides music composing solutions aimed at the general public (a.k.a. music dummies) without previous musical knowledge or expertise. The Korea-based online music creation service recently expanded to the US.


Michael of Web2Asia just recently had a chat with Kihong Bae, General Manager of MusicShake in the US.


1. Could you please briefly introduce yourself and your company?
I am a Korean native, but I grew up in Spain. I have studied and worked in Korea and the United States, travelling back and forth. Prior to working as Senior Marketing Manager at Microsoft Korea I was working for several companies in the IT industry. Currently I am heading up the US operations of MusicShake. The US office is mainly in charge of the marketing, but the goal at the end of the day is to move the HQ from Korea to the US. Right now we are trying to keep the company very lean.


I have always been interested in fusion technology and media entertainment – exactly what MusicShake is combining. MusicShake is software that allows the general public, we call them music dummies, to create their own music in a very easy and intuitive way that no other software achieves. We provide a variety of music modules, you just need to drag 'n drop to create different patterns. Currently we have about 400,000 different modules online, so just imagine the combination of possible songs. We cover all the instruments out there and even provide vocals. All modules are currently created by in-house and part-time outsourced musicians in Korea, where we have a pool of 30 people. But we are recruiting musicians in the US right now as well. One side of music is pretty international and there is no need to translate, music is music. But at the same time there is a cultural aspect – what is popular in Korea does not necessarily have what it takes to be popular in the US. Therefore the localization of the music modules, especially the lyrics, is important. More

Country Focus: Japan - Social Lending – the big idea

March 14th 2008

Zopa ( is a marketplace for Social Lending. People lend and borrow money with each other, sidestepping the banks. Recently Zopa Japan was formed and will shortly launch with a localized version of its services.


Web2Asia had the opportunity to ask Giles Andrews five questions about their international expansion plans.


1. Dear Giles, could you briefly introduce yourself and your company?

My name is Giles Andrews, I am CFO, co-founder and UK MD of Zopa, the world’s first online lending and borrowing marketplace. We launched in the UK in March 2005 and now have operations that have launched in Italy and the US and plans to launch in Japan.


2. Why did you opt for Japan after tapping Italy and the US and not for other European markets?

We have experienced tremendous interest in our concept of social P2P lending since we launched our operations and have been approached by people from all over the world that wanted to collaborate with us. After assessing a proposal from Japan we found this market very attractive and believe that Japan is a particularly interesting opportunity for Zopa as the concept of collaboration and working together is deep-seated in the Japanese culture. However, we are still looking at other European markets as well and hope, optimistically speaking, to enter another three markets in 2008.


3. What are the major issues you had to address entering the Japanese market and to what extent does the Japanese concept and website differ from the other ones?

The operations in Japan will draw from Zopa's experience across the globe and introduce a social lending platform that is tailored for the Japanese culture and regulatory environment. The regulatory environment is different in every country, requiring changes to each proposition. Consumer attitudes and culture are also different. The changes for Japan are still a work in progress, but will reflect local culture, consumer attitudes and regulation. The design and layout of the website itself won't be changed as it proofed to be well accepted.


4. Zopa Italy operates under a license obtained from Zopa UK, and in the United States Zopa teamed up with six credit unions. How did you enter the Japanese market?

Zopa Japan is majority owned by Zopa, with the management - Chairman Takashi Yoneda and Managing Director Tatsuya Kuboi - also being shareholders. Concerning the mode of entry, as you can see in the case of Italy, we are pretty flexible and assess every market and proposal on an individual base. Of course we would opt for majority stakes in countries we think have great potential. Joint Ventures are very common and well accepted in Japan as people are, as I have mentioned before, used to collaborate and work together.


5. Which other markets do you plan to enter in the near future? How do you assess the Chinese market and its potential?

We are looking at European markets and also markets in Asia. China is obviously interesting on account of its scale, but there are question marks around its credit infrastructure and credit data availability – we will watch the performance and development of P2P lenders in China like PPDai or Qifang with great interest.


About Giles Andrews

Giles Andrews spent 10 years in the motor industry, co-founding Godfrey Davis Motor Group. He then set up his own consultancy practice where clients included Tesco and Tesco Personal Finance.


Meet us at Media 08 in Sydney

March 4th 2008


Web2Asia will the attend the Media 08 in Sydney on March 7th 2008. The event is a one-day conference about media, innovation and the internet.


Media 08 injects new ideas, unveils bold and creative solutions, provokes radical thinking, elicits thoughtful predictions, and sets the agenda for Australasia’s media, marketing and technology businesses and professionals. See you Down Under!

Country Focus: China –

March 3rd 2008


According to the World Tourism Organization, China is projected to have 100 million native travellers by 2020, making it the number one supplier of outbound tourists. Already, 40.95 million Chinese are leaving their country each year to explore foreign holiday destinations. Regarding the domestic tourism market, the China National Tourism Administration has even more superlatives to offer: In 2007 an astounding 1.610 billion Chinese traveled to visit either family, or famous sites in the Middle Kingdom.

Serial entrepreneur John Ho estimates that around 80% of all Chinese outbound tourists, and a rapidly increasing number of domestic travellers, will carry a digital camera with them on their trips. At the same time he believes  these travellers will want to share the pictures taken along their journeys with friends and families online in order to partake in China’s progress to tourism super power.

Johns latest project - a geotagging enabled photo trip community - aims to provide exactly this service. You set your camera's clock to the time on an external GPS tracker and it matches up the timestamps on the photos (EXIF data) to its log of the exact location and time of where your pictures were taken. After your trip you first upload the data from the tracker followed by your pictures. Wherefun will then combine both sets of information and visualize your trip based on Google maps. More

Web2Asia Launch: Official Press Releases are out

March 1st 2008


We are happy to announce the official launch of Web2Asia today. Web2Asia has been active in East Asia for more than 2 years and first operated under the name of its parent company MH | direkt – an international Direct Marketing & Fulfillment corporation from Austria/Europe – before now being established as a separate division by March 1st 2008. Please find the according press releases here:



More infos at

Web2Asia at Benelux Venture Forum and Plugg in March

February 26nd 2008


We are excited to take part in two events in Brussels this March - the Benelux Venture Forum on March 3rd as well as the Plugg conference on March 4th. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Scene Report: Japan - UltraSuperNew Inc.

February 18th 2008


As the first post in our category Scene Reports, covering Western Interactive Media companies in East-Asia, we would like to present to you 5 questions to Mr. Michael Sheetal, founder of UltraSuperNew Inc. in Toyko/Japan.


1. Hi Michael, could you give us a short introduction about yourself and your company?

My name is Michael Sheetal and I started UltraSuperNew Inc. with my business partner, Marc Wesseling, in January 2007. We both come from advertising backgrounds, Marc more on the sales side, and I have more experience on the technical side and running production teams in web, mobile, animation and video/tv.

UltraSuperNew Inc. is an interactive creative agency specialising in using the power of consumer generated media, social networks, and guerrilla advertising. We have high level creative and technical skills in house to service our clients in building and/or integrating social media into their brand and also to help them establish an identity in the new media landscape. More


Country Focus: China – The write stuff

February 14th 2008

Welcome back everyone after the Chinese New Year break. We have some very thought-provoking interviews/scene reports from Korea and Japan coming up next week. In the meantime we would like to thank everyone for the interest shown in our recent post on the meaning of numbers in China. This week we wanted to give you some additional insights on language and word-plays in China. Enjoy…

Net lingo, Internet slang or Leet has been popular among techies and geeks from the early days of the Web onwards and is today widely used by all kinds of netcitizens on message boards, in chat rooms and instant messengers or for SMS communication. Nevertheless, commonly used English or e.g. German short hand, abbreviations and word-plays can be very tricky to interpret, if not completely unreadable for those unfamiliar with them. If you combine this kind of slang with Chinese – a language that theoretically uses 47,000 different characters (full literacy for day to day usage requires at least knowledge of between 3,000 to 4,000 characters), each with a different meaning but sometimes identical pronunciation – and add the Chinese obsession with numbers then things are taken to a new level of complexity and fun. No wonder it is commonly referred to as "huo xing wen" or Mars language. Judge for yourself with some examples below:


  • 555 - pronounced “wuwuwu” is used to represent the sound of sobbing and sadness :°-(
  • 3Q – “san q”, thank you
  • (pp)mm - “meimei”, for a young (and pretty) girl
  • ssgg – “shuai shuai ge ge", for a handsome boy (literally “handsome older brother”) or
  • dd – “didi”, for young boys (“younger brother”), careful when putting a “small” in front as in “xiao didi” …
  • ddd – “duiduidui”, “rightrightright” to indicate agreement
  • 88 – “byebye”. Not advisably to be used in German chat rooms unless deliberately intended …
  • 520 -  “wo ai ni”, “I love you”
  • 530/360 – “wu xiang ni”/”xiang nian ni” for “I miss you”
  • 775885 – transliteration for “qing qing wo bao bao wo” meaning "kiss me, hug me”. Be warned, however, that using this one on ppmm’s or ssgg’s could result you being told to 748 “qu si ba” as in "go to hell” since it might really 7456 that person as in “qi si wo le" for “this really annoys me" …

Jimdo releases Chinese New Year templates

February 5th 2008


The free online website creator Jimdo has today released 3 Chinese New Year templates for its users in the Middle Kingdom. The Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. It is also celebrated in many other Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. This year the festivities will last from February 6th to February 12th and will mark the transition from the Chinese year of the pig to the year of the rat. Da jia xin nian kuai le!

Country Focus: China - Number Game

February 1st 2008



Welcome to our new category “Market Focus China”. Throughout the next few months we will cover many different topics surrounding the Chinese Internet World – for both newbies and veterans alike. Our first post will give you some fun facts on the symbolism of numbers but also practical hints for Internet ventures in China.

Numbers and numerology have always played a pivotal role in Chinese belief systems. These beliefs were as much spiritual as practical and are still evident in modern day life. If you’ve been to China before and wondered why many apartment and office blocks don’t have a 4th floor (or a 14th or 24th for that matter) the answer lies in the connotations the spoken word holds (see below)  And you could never accuse the Chinese of being selective in their superstitious beliefs: the number 13 is shunned almost as much as in the supposedly ‘rational’ Western world. You may also like to consider the following (entirely true) nuggets of information:

  • The Summer Olympics in Beijing will officially start at 8pm on 8/8/2008 (and no, this isn’t a coincidence)
  • A regional Chinese airline reportedly paid about EUR 224,000 to use 8888-8888 for its telephone number
  • The car licence plate ‘AC6688’ recently sold for a whopping EUR 7,500


A brief explanation of the reasoning behind so-called ‘lucky’ (e.g. 6, 8, 9) and ‘cursed’ numbers (4, 13, 14, etc.) may help to make things clearer. With Chinese word-sounds usually having multiple meanings,  it’s little wonder the spoken form of every number could easily be understood as something else – the following, in fact:

  • 0 – sounds like ‘you’
  • 1 – sounds like ‘want’ or ‘will
  • 2 – sounds like ‘love’
  • 4 – sounds like ‘death’
  • 5 – sounds like ‘I’ or ‘none’
  • 6 – sounds like ‘smoothly’
  • 7 – sounds like ‘family’, ‘wife’ or ‘together’
  • 8 – sounds like ‘prosperity’ (or ‘get rich’)
  • 9 – sounds like ‘a long time’ (or ‘forever’)
  • 14 - sounds like ‘going to die’ - the evilest of all numbers


Now what does that mean for the Web world you might wonder. Well, Internet entrepreneurs have not been slow to recognise the dual meaning of many numbers, taking advantage of the most auspicious numerical formations in their domain names:


  • - spoken as wo yao - which means ‘I want’ (China’s biggest social networking site)
  • – ku le – ‘cool/happy’ (video sharing portal)
  • – le – ‘happy’ (video sharing portal)
  • - wo le – ‘I happy’ (video community)
  • - jiu yue wo ba – ‘date me’ (dating site)
  • - yao ting – ‘I want to listen’ (music portal)
  • wo si nian ni/wo xiang nian ni  - I miss you (classmates portal)
  • wo ai pk – ‘I love PK’ (gaming portal)
  • qi le le – ‘let's be happy together - let's play together’  (gaming portal)
  • – le qu –‘ amazement’, ‘go to play’ (entertainment portal)
  • - yao qu kan- ‘going to look at it’ (books and magazine reviews)
  • yao liu ba – car on the road to prosperity (car community)
  • - yao er liu – ‘let you be happy’, ‘want you to be happy’ (email provider)
  • - wo jiujiu – ‘mine forever’ (music portal)


and to round off our list (and avoiding only 14 entries):

  • - not a wordplay in this case but one of the fist modem dial in numbers from China Telecom back in the days. Now taken as the domain name of NetEase, one of China's leading Internet and online game services providers.

Meet us at Lift08 and Barcamp Mitteldeutschland in February

January 23rd 2008


In February Web2Asia will be over in good old Europe attending the Lift08 in Geneva as well as the Barcamp Mitteldeutschland in Jena. Check out more dates to get to know us in person here.

Web2Asia goes online

January 18th 2008


A big Xie Xie to the good people at Jimdo who helped us put our site together. Special thanks go to Janina for the excellent logo creation & web design.