Tuita, just another rich-blogging service in China by online gaming and entertaining powerhouse Shanda, disclosed that the service is about to raise US$ tens of millions in Series A funding. According to Tuita, all its execs and rank and file employees will receive stock options.
One Tuita exec told local media that its funding will refer to the US$ 40 million that Tumblr has raised. “In China this (lite-blogging) market is still in its early stage, Tuita will cultivate the market with other peers.” he said, “Tuita is of strategic importance in Shanda’s social initiatives. So the team was being internally incubated with much freedom. At the same time, Tuita will raise money from outside capital market, which is first ever in Shanda’s history. By doing so, we can make sure Tuita make the most out of internal resources as well as response quickly to the market.”
Doesn’t matter call yourself rich-blogging (Tuita) or brand yourself as lite-blogging (Diandian), all Tumblr followers (this is a gentle word, and you can relate it to a harsher version). As of this June, Tumblr has over 20 million registered users with explosive expansion, up from less than 7 million users in this Jan. Basically, the better Tumblr looks, the easier for its Chinese counterparts to raise money.
The point of Tumblr (or Tuita, Diandian) is that its easier to use than WordPress or regular blog service like Blogger as well as fancier to look at as compared to Twitter. The first lite-blogging service has been approaching to media including Economist, GQ, New Yorker, CNN, EMI and Comedy Central to have their official blog set up out there. Majority of its official partners come from fashion, music, movie and media industry. Yep, pull in the brands and celebrities, their worshipers will flock into as well.
How’s that gonna work in China? A market where almost (if not all) every western internet powerhouse falls. So after raising tens of millions from venture capitals, Diandian started giving away free movie tickets (20,000), free Haagendazs ice cream (10,000), hosting a disparate set of contests with money rewards to cultivate an active community and to woo users. Set aside the topic of how stunningly Diandian and Tumblr look alike (so does Tuita), Diandian did have some serious localized thinking regarding touting to users, including aforementioned money splashing contests. And it works. As of late June Diandian announced 1 million users with an aim of 100 million by year end.
Tumblr founder once said that “we’re a community of creativity”, Diandian agreed so. Free goodies attract users, and quality contents help keeping users. Diandian now sees a bunch of contributors (be it staff or volunteers) actively engaging in its content construction. Under the “Discovery” menu, you can easily locate some carefully selected nice pictures, funny stuffs all over there.
As for Tuita, neither its operating strategy nor its content curation initiative comes near to Diandian. And one thing strange about Shanda is, though the Chinese online gaming giant owns diversified online properties ranging from online music (1Q84.fm), cloud storage (Everbox), cross-platform notebook (Maiku), social messaging (Youni), LBS (Qieke) online video (Ku6) to SNS (Tangguo), none of which is considered as the front-runners in its area, or even worse, some can see as “slow-runners”, as in the case of Tangguo or Ku6.