Chinese e-commerce giant JD rolled out today a crowdfunding platform dubbed Coufenzi (“whip-round” in Chinese), tapping into yet another field just one week after launching a Travel Channel. The company positioned the new platform as an important part of JD Finance, which offers business like payment as well as financing services for its suppliers and retailers.
On the platform, investors can interact with the fundraisers to determine product design, manufacturing and pricing, introduced a representative from JD.
Altogether 12 crowdfunding campaigns are launched on the platform now, of which 7 are smart hardware projects, including ZIVOO Box which we featured before, while the rest are pop culture projects for movies and concerts.
Like we talked before, it is quite natural for JD to build a crowdfunding site since it has become one of the first distribution channels for smart hardware after initiating a series of steps in this area, including the launch of hardware accelerator JD+, hardware-targeted cloud service JCloud and cooperation with leading hardware crowdfunding platform DemoHour.
But it seems JD is entering the crowdfunding battlefield at a time when most of its domestic rivals are trying to avoid the crowdfunding concept and pivot to pre-sale platforms.
Although inspired by U.S. platforms like Kickstarter, domestic crowdfunding sites have to adapt to Chinese market which is hugely different from where the model boomed. While the U.S. has a strong culture of donations, which is the basis of the crowdfunding concept, Chinese donors are more practical and interested in projects with tangible products that they can get in the near future. Pre-sale website for smart hardware seems to be a balance point that Chinese crowdfunding sites found for the model in China. Several leading Chinese crowdfunding platforms like DemoHour and Knewbi started to re-brand themselves as smart hardware pre-sale platforms. Australian crowdfunding site Pozible is also entering Chinese market with hardware pre-sale business.