Digu, used to be my favorite microblogging service until Sina launched its Weibo. It has a very strong founder Dr. Li Song, a serial entrepreneurs who is one of founders of ChinaHR (acquired by Monster) and founder of the leading online-dating site Zhenai; a very good tech team in which the core team members are from companies like Tencent’s mobile department; and a good strategy of focusing on entertainment to attract young users. Unfortunately in China, it’s almost impossible for a startup to operate a microblogging site.
Digu has to make the change, and Dr. Li bet the new chance must be on the location-based service (LBS). Li believes the Check-in model must linked with the merchants’ real business. Digu has signed a strategic partnership with FAB, which is a 22-years group in entertainment industry and owns >1000 shops selling copyrighted CD, album etc in China. If use check-in in any of these shops, he would be able to get some gift like poster, free cd etc. Large companies like Pepsi is also partner of Digu. Li said, it took Foursquare one year to acquire 1 million users, for Digu, it only takes 4 months. (reads from Digu’s about, the official launch date of Digu LBS is 1st July, 2010.)
Different from other check-in services, Digu also runs several location-based social games such as Lost Treasure, Vampire War and Crazy City on its platform. Digu now supports all popular mobile platform such as Symbian, Java, iOS, Android and even MediaTek.
According to Li, Digu has closed the first round fund from MITSUBISHI venture, another venture capital from Singapore, a hedge fund from states and several angel investors. When he’s asked about the figure, Li only said it’s less than $10millions.
Li does not worry about the revenue model at this stage. He said, if we can make it a good service attracting large number of users, we will find the business model eventually. It’s typically how internet business develops.