Keith Teare still remembered the day when Zhou Hongyi, now CEO of Qihoo, visited his home, carrying a camera and taking photos here and there. He thinks 3721, a domain name search service, Mr. Zhou built later and sold to Yahoo! China in the end adopted the idea of RealNames he founded back in 1997. However, Mr. Teare thinks the success of 3721 was attributed to Zhou Hongyi’s strong execution. It’s not the only encounter Mr. Teare had with China. He had been in Beijing for quite a while. He agrees with many that China is a sophisticated market in terms of cultures and business environment, but he thinks it’s easier to enter China Internet market than before; for instance, Chinese were used to their own product designs while now embraces those widely adopted anywhere else in the world. He reckons China will be one of the most important markets. When launching his new project, Just.me, Keith Teare says that establishing presence in China — like what Evernote does — is inevitable. Just.me, a combined messaging and social media app, was officially launched this week in 155 countries and in 32 language. It wants to handle all your messaging or sharing needs in one place. Apart from enabling you to share anything or send messages onto social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, you can send messages to your phone contacts who even don’t install Just.me apps in their phones. Also, you can also choose to share content with the public, to a group of selected contacts or just to yourself. Just.me plans to support popular Chinese social services like Weibos. They’d also like to add more Chinese services if APIs are available. Mr. Teare is aware of messaging services like WeChat but seems not worried about that they’d copy any feature with Just.me. When asked about the business model, Mr. Teare said that the app would be for free and they didn’t believe in targeted advertising. Instead, they’d try to monetize something like relationship between users and brands by developing something like brand account. He doesn’t like the “freemium” business model Qihoo created, giving online security services away and making money through the huge traffic, saying it’s no good if a company doesn’t let their users know how they leverage them to make money.
Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org More by Tracey Xiang