2012 saw tech people in China trying to make a difference in voice-related apps, online education and other aspects of our lives. Here are services born last year that we found innovative. We’ll announce the finalists at our annual event ChinaBang, 11-12, April 2013, Beijing.
Fenbi (chalk in Chinese), is a micro-blogging platform for teachers/schools and learners to interact. Learners follow teachers/schools, reading notes/materials they post as timeline feeds, access learning materials uploaded by teachers/schools, or taking part in Q&As. Founded by Li Yong, former editor-in-chief of Netease news service, and his colleagues. It raised A round of funding, 10mn Yuan, from IDG.
Changba is a mobile karaoke app for users to record and share their singing within the site or to a couple of other social networks. Audiences can gift singers virtual flowers or share their singing on Changba or onto other social services. Any user is allowed to organize singing contests. The platform is the most popular although a flock of copies followed suit later in the year. Launched in May 2012, its users surpassed ten million by the end of the year.
Weipass offers offline merchants CRM solutions with hardware and software. Its mobile app stores group-buying deal information, coupons or other offerings from merchants. An electronic stamp, hardware developed by Weipass, is in a merchant’s hand to redeem coupons and the like. The company provides merchants with CRM software to see data and manage business. So far the hardware and software are for free.
Ricebook is a social app where users see restaurant ratings & reviews from friends. Also users can share pictures taken in restaurants.
Alipay, the Internet payment solution under the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, revamped its mobile app and renamed it Alipay Wallet. Like Apple’s Passbook, it holds digital coupons, digital tickets, membership cards and the like for users. Unlike Passbook, it integrates financial services Alipay has been offering so that it can be used pay credit card bills or utility bills, wire money, among other things.
Chubao is a mobile app that recognizes unknown phone numbers. Not only can it tell whether an incoming call is spam but shows the name of the company or person behind it. It’s also helpful when a user needs the phone number of a restaurant, hotel or the like. It has a database with 52 million phone numbers.
Yudian is a siri-like voice command app. Yes, it only responds to Chinese. It helps users to send messages, make calls, search for information, do translations and so forth.
Gangker is an audio-based mobile social service. It encourages users to invite other friends to join in discussions or arguments. It was launched in October 2012.
Papa, released in October 2012, is an audio social app. Users attach audio to pictures they share. Audio comment is also available.
Shengsheng is an audio-based Q&A app. Users can “Like” or comment on answers. All entries can be shared to Sina Weibo, a micro-blogging service.