A Screenshot of Wandoujia 4.0
A Screenshot of Wandoujia 4.0

Two days after the $120 million investment announcement, Wandoujia, or SnapPea, launched 4.0 edition today. The major update is the in-app content search has expanded from video to mobile games, e-books and smartphone themes.

Not only will Wandoujia return search results of the content, it will also surface new episodes of TV series or new chapters of serialized e-books you have searched for and are following.

Today is the first time , Wang Junyu, co-founder and CEO disclosed that the company was meant to build mobile search from the very beginning. Founded in 2010, Wandoujia had been referred to as a mobile app distributor even after it released an Android app search service in 2011. After app distributor 91 Wireless was acquired by Baidu last year, Wandoujia was referred to as the largest independent app distributor in China.

Its ambition in search became clearer when the search service for in-app videos was launched in August 2013. Too many it’s actually not a surprise as the company was founded by former engineers from Google China and initially was funded by Innovation Works, the venture capital firm founded by former Google China chief Kaifu Lee.

Wandoujia began in 2010 as an Android phone assistant that users could download and manage apps through a PC client. The convenience of managing mobile content and Android phones helped it gain much traction and have users stick around.

Till now Wandoujia has had more than one million apps on its platform. The total number, however, is over six million considering duplicates. And Wandoujia is able to tell which are the official, which carry ads and the like.

For indexing index in-app content, Wandoujia has made it easy for developers to configure their apps. When commenting on Baidu’s Light App project — having developers convert their native apps into webapps so that it’s easy for Baidu to index mobile content — released in the second half of 2013, Wang said Wandoujia didn’t think it’s necessary to do. UC Web, the mobile browser and service provider, is advocate of the Light App. Zhou Hongyi, CEO of Qihoo, once said they believed the mobile search would be very different and his company would launch a new mobile search service this year. Qihoo launched a video search app several days later than Wandoujia’s in-app video search.

Wandoujia has seen some revenues and the funding will be used to accelerate growth, according to Wang Junyu. Baidu, now still the biggest search company in China, saw 10% of total revenues coming from mobile in Q2 2013. As mobile gaming took off in 2013 and some developers saw good money coming in, it is expected mobile advertising, including mobile search, will generate more revenues soon.

Three years after founding, Wandoujia now has over 200 employees, with more than one third working on search. Wandoujia products have had English versions since early on.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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