In China and most Asian countries, it’s quite common to see people taking pictures of their food. Food is an important part of our daily life, and we would like to share our seasonal indulgences with friends. Last week, I had a chance to interview Shen Haihuai, founder and CEO of Meishidaren(meishidaren.com), a location-based visual guide service for users to find and share the foods they love.
Originally founded in Hangzhou in July 2009, later on moved to Beijing in Nov.2010, Meishidaren owns a young but strong team specialized in product development, operating and marketing. Developed from several previous testing versions, Meishidaren officially launched in Dec.2010, and recently launched its new Iphone version which according to Mr. Shen Haihuan was integrated into more of their ideas about the service.
How did you come up with the idea of establishing Meishidaren? Any inspiration from Foodspotting?
“I’ve always been interested in Internet industry. Meanwhile, I noticed that LBS is a promising direction of the future which we can put a lot of thoughts into. When I saw Foodspotting, I found it’s a very nice idea to have food pictures combined with geographical location; it could develop very well in China since we are one of the greatest culinary countries.” Mr. Shen Haihuai said. “Our initial thought for Meishidaren was very preliminary and therefore lack of consideration of details. Now we put more efforts on the update of interactive functions. Rather than only paying attention on food and leaving people behind, we choose to introduce people and food at the same time.
Knowing the needs of users and responding fast is the core competitiveness.
In the era of Widget2.0, many mobile phone apps relating to our basic necessities can become our life assistants. Mr. Shen Haihuai states that Meishidaren wants to be the product close to users’ daily life and enables users to interact and share.” For us, knowing the needs of our users and responding fast is our core competitiveness.” In order to be closer to their users, Meishidaren held several offline events such as offering restaurant sample tasting activities to collect views and feedbacks from the users directly. Though always being compared to, Meishidaren wouldn’t want to be considered as a Chinese copy of Foodspotting.”We have a lot of differences in interface and other details. Most important, we grow in completely different soil in China, which means we need to apply completely different business model.”
Currently shows optimistic tendency of quicker growth in number of users.
Since launched less than half a year ago, Meishidaren has gained hundreds of thousands of users, most of which were born in 80s, 90s, even 00s.Geographically speaking, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai are the top 3 cities with large user group. Besides, overseas students especially Asian students form another interesting group of Meishidaren users which can bring some different and fresh ideas about food. Mr. Shen claims, lately after the release of new version, it shows an optimistic tendency of quicker growth in user number, and the latest version gained more than ten hundred downloads in App store within a week.
When talking about next moves and visions for Meishidaren’s future, Mr. Shen claims himself as the kind of person who prefers to talk about what they have now rather than in the future. “Our current concern mainly lies in users’ experience as we want to meet the needs of different users. As for the business cooperation, we have already been in touch with some stores and companies for some cooperation.” Mr. Shen said.