Lots of tech companies have their head in the cloud. Youdao, a sub-brand of Chinese internet company NetEase, recently launched Youdao Cloud Cooperation, an enterprise platform where users can communicate and share notes, spreadsheets and files in real-time, allowing them to create and edit documents online while cooperating with other colleagues.
The tool is available across multiple platforms, including PC, Mac, web, iOS and Android, and is compatible with most mainstream document formats. William Ding, NetEase CEO, said the service is aimed at small teams with less than ten members in the file editing and sharing scenario.
Jiang Weihang, NetEase technology director, said traditional enterprise software usually costs a lot and demands promotion by IT departments. He doesn’t think this model suits the Chinese market. Consequently, Youdao Cloud Cooperation will adopt a freemium model, rather than the premium or subscription models adopted by most current enterprise services.
Youdao started as a search engine sub-brand under NetEase. Although Youdao Search didn’t gain traction, the other two products, Youdao Dictionary and Youdao Note, performed much better. As of the end of 2013, Youdao Dictionary claimed nearly 400 million active users and had started to explore the online education sector. Youdao Note, the Evernote clone, announced it had 15 million users last year.
Youdao is seeking to expand this success from individual to the enterprise market. Ding added that Youdao Cloud Cooperation is going to be another strategic focus of the NetEase, on par with NetEase News and EasyChat.
Most Chinese small teams use QQ, email or online disk to share files, but such solutions can lead to version control and cooperation problems, according to statistics from Youdao.
Compared with other Yammer-like enterprise social services like Teambition and Mingdao, Youdao Cloud Cooperation is more similar to WPS Light Office, Google Docs and Office 365. Since Google services are blocked in China, the unavailability of Google Docs, a service widely used by foreign small teams, has left space for domestic services in this sector to prosper.
Tencent also rolled out enterprise-level service Enterprise Account to tap this sector.