If Weibo was last year’s Chinese breakout product Jiepang looks like a contender in 2011. Inevitably there will be a cadre of readers who will say that this is a rip-off of Foursquare. I think that that’s too strong a word to use, and point out that Foursquare is an evolution of Dodgeball and where does that put Gowalla and SCVNGR?
Secondly, Jiepang are no slouches; they have managed to start monetising their service already getting on board brand partners including Yahoo! China, Louis Vuitton, Lenovo, McDonald’s and Puma. Jiepang also has had giveaways and promotions on offer through the application.
There is also a desire to check-in to places where celebrities have checked in. An aspect of the linkage in web services and celebrity that you have seen on Chinese micro-blogs and blogging platforms in the past.
Jiepang has applications for a number of platforms:
- Mobile website rather than coding for Symbian or Windows Mobile (presumably HP never got WebOS into China)
Like Foursquare most of the business happens in the mobile application, the website is more for controlling your social graph on Jiepang. Jiepang’s iPhone app is billed as supporting both English and Chinese but all the notifications are in Chinese. Jiepang is integrated into Baidu Maps which again only recognises place names in Chinese characters.
It’s an impressive app and maybe in a few versions time it could be expanding beyond the Chinese market.