Remember Chat Roulette? It was a buzz web product a few years ago that randomly paired strangers together and allowed them to chat via webcam. Don’t like the person you’re talking to? No worries. Click next to skip to the next random person. It was mainly used as a way to kill boredom but soon fizzled into place for people to express their rude x-rated side.

Now a Hong Kong based start-up called Primitus, is endeavouring to revive the chat roulette concept through a project called Yujian. However, instead of pairing you with totally random people, they connect you with people that share a common interest like sports or games. The experience of live video chat will remain the same. By giving people a reason to chat about something or a relevant topic, it is believed chat times will last longer and be more valuable to both sides, compared to cycling through random people or their private parts.

To match like-minded people together, Yujian pulls the data from the social interest graphs from Weibo and RenRen. An added feature allows users to video with their real friends only via a customized URL.

The goal of Yujian is to provide a fun, casual and comfortable environment for users to discover new like-minded people and develop meaningful relationships.

Since Primitus Co-founder, Vincent Chan is also the former Head of Jiepang Hong Kong, a LBS, Yujian will later implement Jiepang’s API so people can chat with others who checked in at the same location.

Yujian is currently in public beta and is looking to improve their product based on user feedback.

It is clear the future of chat is moving more towards video with big players like Skype, Facebook, Google+ building out better video chat products; but it will be interesting to see if the idea of meeting strangers is enough to make products like Yujian sticky.


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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