Back to January this year, we predicted that Kik would be one of most copied apps in China. And we are right. There are more startups working on it such as WaliTalk; the social network Kaixin001 even has one called Feidou and the amazing Tencent also launched its own Kik named Weixin. We did not know about Talkbox (read our interview) at that time, but now almost every clone of Kik has integrated Talkbox’s voice chat function, which some people consider as sort of China style innovation. Well, at least, Kik+Talkbox, is smart.
The question is: Why we are so interested in copying the idea of mobile messaging; and since we know Tencent’s Weixin, Lei Jun’s Miliao etc these tough guys are out there, why people still see it as a chance?
Last week I was in Beijing to attend GreatWallClub’s Advisor board meeting and Lei Jun, the investor of Xiaomi (the owner company of Miliao) is the chairman. We were discussing about the trend of Chinese mobile internet. Lei Jun’s quite exciting about the recent achievement of Miliao which beat QQ app as the most downloaded app in the social category in China region for days. He said, Pony Ma is scared by Miliao’s super fast growth and has ordered Tencent’s team to seriously look into the Kik market. Lei Jun believes that there is more open opportunites in mobile internet and beating Tencent is not a mission impossible.
Mobile extension of Social Networks
I also talked to the product manager of mobile department in Kaixin001 asking for his opinion. He said product-wise, Feidou’s Kik+Talkbox, but the difference is that Kik’s user base starts from zero, but Feidou could pull millions of users from its social network’s user base and it would not be a standalone product. He does not worry about iMessenger as Feidou is just a perfect mobile extension of Kaixin001. He also admitted that they are still thinking of the best way to integrate Kaixin001’s services into Feidou. “We tried once to guide Kaixin001’s users to use Feidou, but the number of users log on Feidou was not that good. Users still need be educated because they have not got the idea of Kik yet.” He said.
Easy-built mobile social networking platforms
Everyone sees the chance in the mobile social networks market. Building an Kik+Talkbox is probably the easiest approach to accumulate users in a short time. “Kik+Talkbox is the key function for WaliTalk, but we might build more interesting features, such as games into it, once we have a good and active user base”, the founder of WaliTalk told me. So for the startups like WaliTalk, Kik+Talkbox model is more like an entry strategy into the mobile market.
Even iOS 5 will come with iMessenger which seems functioning like Kik, but it would not stop people using the ideas of mobile messaging, for different purpose.