Out of all the Chinese Pinterests we mentioned earlier, Huaban (花瓣, or petals) is decidedly the one that stands out from the crowd to receive US$ more than one million in Series A round of funding from KPCB, less than ten days after the website went online.
The Hangzhou-based service was crafted by the startup behind Yupoo, one of the earliest and best Flickr-clone in China founded about 7 years ago.
With exact the same idea, features and even web design and layout, Huaban lets users “collect” (just like “Pin” with Pinterest) pictures by uploading local files or grabbing one from existing webpage. You can “recollect” (like Repin) whatever attractive to you and save them onto your “Huaban” (like board) and “Like” pictures “collected” by other users. Moreover, you can create boards under different categories to organize all the pictures you collected.
Pinterest per se has seen huge growth with rapid rising traffic in the States, the site has 3.2 million UV monthly with growth rate over 100%, topped some long-established craft sites like Etsy.
New Social Commerce Model
To some, the potential and significant value of Pinterest model, is it’s influence on purchase. Lots of users use pinterest as their online wish list to collect stuff they want to buy. That’s where the revenue model could be build upon. Huaban patently has realized the matter. The site just launched a campaign called “Create Your Own Board for New Year Wishes” with iPad 2 and prepaid card as awards. A smart move to help shaping user cases, in a way that would eventually benefit the site itself.
From the standpoint of referral, Pinterest model has its inherent advantage as the core concept of it is to “save and share stuff you love online”, making it a tremendous traffic source. “Pinterest is a huge source from a referral standpoint, even beating out referrals from Facebook in the month of October,” said Shannon King, GM of digital for Time Inc.’s Real Simple magazine. “It speaks to the power of engaged audience members.” An Etsy staff also admitted that “Pinterest is a growing source of traffic for Etsy” and that they consider it “terrific for our members because it’s another way for shoppers to discover all of the amazing things that Etsy sellers create.” These statements were evidenced by some etailers moves of leveraging Pinterest to gain a lot of traction and generate a lot of buzz. We can expect the same to happen soon in Chinese Pinterests, whoever wins in the fierce and disordered competition.
Zhou Wei, KPCB investor said that “Chinese ecommerce market is picking up quickly, we’ve invested in Xiu.com, Manzuo.com and 360buy.com. On the other hand, we are also paying special attention to products in the form of online shopping entrance. Social shopping is something we’re interested in and we believe that interests-based collecting/sharing has huge potential and money-making possibilities in the future since customers’ consuming behaviors has much to do with their interests. ”