It’s one of the rare Chinese successes that is home grown instead of being imported or copied from overseas. It’s also a one of the few social networks that has attracted 100 million users and is nearing profitability, yet there is a million questions surrounding its business model.

The site referred to above is Douban. In its most basic form, Douban is a place where you can record films you have seen, records you have heard, and books you have read, then discuss it with others who share your interest. Later on, Douban also adopted BBS forum that has been enormously popular in China. There have been cases where power users of Douban’s forum have successfully transformed themselves into real world minor celebrities. Most recently, Douban has expanded in various directions, mimicking companies such as Twitter, Pandora and Groupon.

Douban has long intrigued observers. The first, of course, being Douban’s enormous success, especially considering its explosion is almost organic. In a recent interview of Douban’s founder Yang Bo, he confirmed that Douban is a product of idealism. At first, Yang merely wanted a place for like minded people to gather. No one had any idea Douban would explode and attract so many users.

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Yang Wang

Yang is currently the brand and media director at Elitime Media & Consulting. He has published and translated seven books, and several of his works have been translated and published in areas such...