There was a lot of talk about Chinese social app Youja, or U+, in the past couple of days, for it became the top in the social category of the App Store for China, and recently it announced 25 million users.

It’s not a new app though. Its first version was launched way back in 2011, starting as a location-based social app for strangers. Like many other similar apps, it enabled users to chat with or follow other users, like their shared photos or send their virtual gifts. Shortly after the launch, U+ told TechNode that they planned to monetize users through virtual gifts. And they didn’t expect the selling point of linking strangers to last long, so they’d develop features to encourage users to interact with existing contacts and stay with the app longer.

It was the time when a wave of location-based social apps emerged. Among them include Momo, currently the most successful of its kind in terms of user base and monetization. Momo announced 100 million users earlier this year and claimed they’d broken even with a majority of revenues from mobile games and a minority from emoticon sales.

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Tracey Xiang

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