Pinterest, the young Silicon Valley based startup has 3.2 million UV per month with growth rate over 100%, has recently closed a $27 million round of fund which might values it up to $200 million. With no surprise, many copycats also emerged in China. From a rough statistics, we found 14 products that share the idea and for some of them even the UI design.

Differentiation, will be the big headache for those Chinese Pinterest startups. Are you confused with the similar product design and user scenarios? I do. Let’s put aside the question whether Pinterest is a scalable business and can it be transplanted to Chinese market. Assume Pinterest’s model can work in China, still a lot of the copycats may die in the fierce competition. As an internet market analysts, I need spend time going through all these sites for research, but for ordinary users I bet they would never open an account in every website with the same function. In this case, the capability to attract and retain target users will be the core advantage.

Then, commercialization remains the issue, although all these Pinterests may be shy to talk about it at this stage. Pinterest is expected to earn the profit from online shops by its precise marketing potential. Value of a Pinterest-like product depends on how active the users are, and how much traffic the website can attract and export. Only when users generate, comment and spread the pictures can the website see the possibility for commercialization. These websites may have a natural inspiration to get affiliated to e-commerce companies. In this case, the products evolved from existing e-commerce companies such as TaobaoWow and Vancl Star are born with advantage and may have more chance for survival in the future. So, for those tiny startups thinking about entering into this Pinterest Copying Competition, I have to advise personally: Look before you leap.

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