In April, I was invited to the China Webmaster Annual Conference in Beijing. It was a great honor sitting with these great guys in China web: Wen Xie, ex-CEO of Hexun and founder of Yiqi; Shendong Pang, CEO of 51, a super fast growing local SNS; Kevin Day, CEO and founder of Comsenz whose UCenter is ‘breaking Chinese SNS market into pieces’; Gang Fang, VP of Sohu who is leading Sohu’s Open Platform; Xing Wang, who is reported the pioneer of Chinese Facebook. Xing founded Xiaonei and later sold it to Oak Pacific Interactive. Xing also founded Fanfou, a clone of Twitter and now he is focusing on his second Facebook liker: Hainei; Chuan Luo, ex-CEO of MSN and now CEO of Myspace China.
The Revolution and Future of Social Networks, is the topic of this panel. We went through a wide range of issues around Social Networks in China. We did not discuss much about the Open Web/Open Platform, but interesting enough, today all these leading Chinese SNSs have more of less make themselves Open: Myspace China has its open platform which is part of Myspace headquarters’s strategy; Yiqi and Hainei have agreed to support OpenSocial; Sohu has its open platform launched back in Janurary; 51 is reported that its platform supposedly would be launched in June, although I did not believe it; The latest news I am very curious about its potential impact is ManYou Open Platform (MYOP) developed by Comsenz for its UCenter. Besides, AOL China is planning Yourminis and Goowy in China; Yahoo China’s platform ZhanZhangTianXia will be supporting widgets; CSDN, the No.1 Chinese developer community has launched its own SNS which might be a open widget platform too.
Shall we hail for it because a new era of Chinese Internet has come? Or should we worry about it and is it a bubble and a hype? Chinese web has embraced the Open concept, which is really positive move. I would rather believe the Open concept will be accepted by the industry and netizen soon one day. The question is what is after the Open Platforms?
1. Open Platform Standard
Can we have only one Open Platform Standard? If the existing Open Platforms are not compatible with each other, we can not say the Chinese web is open, can we?
2. Widget Industry
If we can not find a killer application, 3G might be just a fascinating term for ISPs and geeks. Every open platform will need widgets to attract and entertain the users; If open platforms get popular, they will become a tremendous distribution channel to expose third parties’ content and service through widgets to millions of users. Widget can be commercial. We needs developers and professionals to develop widgets and help track the usage of widgets.
3. New Online Ads Market
Widget is a brand new and much powerful carrier of online ads. It could be an image or text like what normal ads contains, it can also offer service and content directly to the consumers. There are many online ads agencies nowaday. Sooner or later, some of them should be aware of the potential of the widget and help deploy advistiser’s widget ads into all sorts of platforms, i.e. ads publishers.
Open Platform Standard, Widge industry and Widget Ads market together build the trend of Internet – the Widget Economy, which is the treasure we are looking for behind the Open Platform. Let’s prepare for it!