With the rise of free mobile instant messaging service apps like WhatsApp and Kik, China has cloned them as quickly as Kik’s real time messaging works. The differences between WhatsApp and Kik are:

  • WhatsApp pulls contacts from your mobile phone but Kik pulls contacts from your email
  • Kik tells you when a message has been sent, delivered, read and when someone is replying in real time, WhatsApp doesn’t
  • WhatsApp has enabled users to send media such as images, video and audio, Kik doesn’t
  • Whatsapp is also a paid app versus Kik being released for free

Anyway, what’s more important about this story is that China has pounced on the idea. Free instant mobile messaging is bound to be huge in China. What Chinese person doesn’t get excited about the word ‘FREE!’?

Here are some of the clones:

1. Mi.Xiaomi

One of Lei Jun’s projects, it is similar to Kik and unsurprisingly looks like it too. Xiaomi technology started in April 2010, focused on Android, iPhone and other next-generation smartphones and mobile Internet innovation waves. The elite team is made up of former Google, Microsoft, Motorola, BYD, Baidu, Kingsoft, Lenovo, Alibaba.com.

2. Shanda Kiki

Although the site doesn’t attempt to look like Kik, the name certainly sounds the same. This latest technology from Bambook eReader maker, Shanda allows for free text chat, caller ID and personal status synchronisation.

3. Vimi

Vimi is a free mobile application that can send text messages for free cross-platform. It can synchronize cell phone contacts directly, the information pushed to your phone desktop.

4. Weixin.qq

Is a product of tech giant Tencent QQ  that allows instant messaging and picture sharing in real-time.

It will be interesting to see how the carriers like China Mobile, Unicom and Telecom react to services like this legitimately challenging their revenue streams. But that’s why start-ups are cool – they disrupt things.

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.

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