Location-based check-in service, is one of the hottest keywords in mobile market this year. This business is controversial, as we all agree that location-based service is full of potential, but check-in seems boring and lacking of revenue model.But if you believe in this market, you need give it a go, now!
Today’s obviously an interesting date for Chinese location-based service. Jiepang, announced its API to encourage third-parties to check-in on Jiepang in different ways or use the data generated by the community. Three companies show up in Jiepang’s press conference to demo their integration with Jiepang’s API, Banmake (mobile social media ads solution provider based on QR-code), 16Fun (MyTown-like location-based game) and Weico (a popular UI/UX design company specialized for mobile application). Jiepang also released its new version with Instagram-like photo filters integrated. Although I am pretty sure that other check-in service will soon follow Jiepang to launch their own API, but Jiepang takes the first step to lead this, we see its confidence and its good sense about the market. Launching an API is easy, building an ecosystem around it is super hard, especially in China. It needs a couple of weeks to judge the success of the API strategy, but the good news we’ve heard is that Jiepang is planning to move to a bigger office, so 2011 sounds quite promising for Jiepang.
However, also a rumor came to us early today that another LBS service Linxun, operated by the listed company Vodone, has laid off 5/6 of the team (update: tonight, Vodone has officially denied this and emphasized its Linxun business was running on the right track). Linxun might be the ‘richest’ LBS company as its advertisement is actually often found in Beijing’s subway. Linxun was co-developed by Orange Beijing Lab and Vodone in early this year and now fully operated by Vodone. It was reported that Linxun had 4 millions users. So let’s do hope it’s not a Hell ahead of Linxun.
2010 is the first year for Chinese location-based service and everyone is testing the market, and no doubt next year the competition will be tough as we might see more big companies like social network Renren and even portals to release its own LBS service. We might see 2 or 3 winners hopefully go to heaven and the rest (most of them) might need find a niche market to survive before they go to hell.