【英语中国】Flipboard重振中国业务 欲分一杯羹 Flipboard Is Latest U.S. Tech Firm to Refocus Efforts on China

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2014-5-6 15:40

小艾摘要: As China's smartphone user numbers continue to balloon--it currently has more than 500 million--so too does the number of U.S. tech firms looking to get a piece of that market. Flipboard is the most r ...
Flipboard Is Latest U.S. Tech Firm to Refocus Efforts on China
As China's smartphone user numbers continue to balloon--it currently has more than 500 million--so too does the number of U.S. tech firms looking to get a piece of that market.

Flipboard is the most recent, joining LinkedIn on the list of American tech companies looking to rejuvenate their offerings here.

The four-year-old Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, which creates a bespoke mobile magazine of content from social and traditional media, has hired three new employees in China and plans to expand the team to 10, from just one, by the end of the summer, according to Flipboard Chief Technology Officer Eric Feng.

Though Flipboard initially introduced an application in China in 2011, Mr. Feng said the company has since been more focused on keeping up with product developments in the U.S.

'We actually did a pretty good job early on launching the China app....but what happened in 2012 and 2013 is we just stopped investing in it...it was not through any purposeful decision, [Flipboard] was a small company, with limited resources focused elsewhere,' he said.

Despite the relative neglect, Mr. Feng said the company has seen its user base in China grow rapidly, with growth rates here outpacing those of the U.S. Of the company's more than 100 million users, half are outside the U.S. and China is the company's third-largest market internationally.

One of the first items on the agenda for Flipboard in China, according to Mr. Feng, is to bring into the fold more of the country's popular social media platforms. Its China app is currently integrated with Sina and Tencent Weibo (both popular microblogs) as well as with Renren (a Facebook clone that has fallen in popularity in recent years). Mr. Feng said Flipboard hopes to add to that list services such as Tencent's mobile messaging and social networking app WeChat and Douban, social networking service focused on film, books and music.

Mr. Feng said the power of China's users is likely to drive other startups to follow in Flipboard's tracks soon.

'We're at an inflection point where it is a very dominant market and in the next few years, I wouldn't be surprised to see companies come out with China strategies at launch,' he said. 'As we think of mobile first, I'm sure there will be a new generation of Silicon Valley startups that think of China first.'

That would offer a new brand of competition for Chinese startups, which are slowly brewing their own form of innovation but which also benefit from having little outside competition and are often able to simply make Chinese-language copies of apps that become popular elsewhere. After the app Whisper, which lets users post anonymous messages paired with a photo, grew popular in the U.S., a Chinese clone emerged within months.

图片来源移动杂志Flipboard应用正在重新关注中国市场,中国是该公司第三大市场。
随着中国智能手机用户数量迅速增长,想从中国市场分一杯羹的美国科技公司也越来越多。目前中国的智能手机用户数量已超过5亿。

Flipboard是最新加入这一阵营的公司,继领英(LinkedIn)之后成为又一家重振中国业务的美国科技公司。

总部位于美国帕洛阿尔托的Flipboard成立于四年前,为用户打造专属的移动杂志,内容来自社交媒体和传统媒体。Flipboard首席技术长Eric Feng表示,最近几个月Flipboard在中国招聘了三名新员工,公司还计划在今夏结束前把这支队伍扩充到10个人,过去他们只有1个人。

Flipboard早在2011年就已经在中国推出了一款应用。Feng说,此后公司一直更专注于跟上美国产品发展的步伐。

他说,公司最初在推出中文版应用方面做得很好,但2012和2013年公司停止了投资,这并不是什么有针对性的决定,只是因为Flipboard是一家小公司,能够用于其他方面的资源有限。

尽管中国市场相对不受重视,但Feng表示,Flipboard中国用户迅速增长,目前中国用户增速超过美国用户增速。在公司1亿多用户中,半数来自美国以外地区。国际范围内,中国是该公司第三大市场。

Feng表示,Flipboard在中国发展的首要任务之一是将更多中国流行社交媒体平台涵盖在内。该公司的中文应用目前整合了新浪和腾讯的微博(都是很受欢迎的微博)以及人人网(模仿Facebook的产品,近年来流行度下降)。Feng表示,公司将寻求扩展,将一些新的社交网络服务涵盖在内,如腾讯的微信(WeChat)移动通信和专注于电影、书籍和音乐的社交网络服务豆瓣等。

Feng表示,中国用户的实力可能推动其他初创公司很快效仿该公司的做法。

他说:“我们目前正处于一个转折点,中国是一个非常重要的市场,未来几年,若众多公司纷纷制定中国战略,我不会感到意外。”他还说:“在我们把移动设备放在首要位置之际,我肯定将有新一代硅谷初创公司把中国放在首要位置。”

这将给中国的初创公司带来新的竞争。中国初创公司正在慢慢酝酿自己的创新形式,同时也因缺乏外部竞争而获益,而且还经常能够效仿在其他地区热门的应用推出中文版。匿名分享应用Whisper在美国大热后,几个月内就有一家中国公司跟风效仿。

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