In China there are 42 million users of social network site (SNS) kaixin001.com. iResearch, an IT consulting firm said 42 million figure came up in June, over one-tenth of China’s netizen population.
These users are crazy about game applications of Kaixin001, such as "growing vegetables", "snatching parking lots" and "buying friends". This is not social networking; this is playing computer gemes.
Liu Xingliang, CEO of Chinalabs, a Beijing-based Internet research company divided Chinese SNS into three categories: sites for stranger networking such as 51.com and QQ community — Myspace clones sites for friend networking such as Kaixin001 and Xiaonei — Facebook clones; and sites for information release such as fanfou.com — Twitter clones.
However, none of them are doing what was the original intent. Liu Xingliang says, "they are all obsessed with games. Kaixin001, especially, looks more and more like an online-game company.
Kaixin001 attracts bored white-collared workers who look for occasional fun in office hours, so they get hooked to these low-cost and fool-proof games on this site but they will be bored with games someday." Perhaps. Maybe. Difficult to know what evidence on which that is based.
This month a "seasoned" Kaixiner, Wang Ping, tried to sell his Kaixin account on online auction site Taobao at 8,000RMB ($1,170). Nine months into this game, he had won a "parking lot" worth 250 million dollars of web site currency and "property" worth 300 million such dollars. Wang said he was no longer interested in those games.
Games are draining Myspace’s users, Jenny Townsend, an American journalist working in China, said, "I left Myspace because I used it for social networking, but others always invited me to games. I found it annoying." She is in good company. Bill Gates and the writer of this article have both walked away from social networking sites.
A survey conducted by comScore, a global IT marketing research company, suggested that Myspace, the world’s largest SNS, lost nearly four million users in June. Difficult to shed a tear.
In China, there are thousands leaving Kaixin001 but, importantly, there are also thousands joining. It went from 36 million in May to 42 million in June.
Liu Xingliang, CEO of Chinalabs, a Beijing-based Internet research company, said, "SNS is supposed to build a platform for friends to share information and feelings, such as book recommendations, songs to listen to, personal comment on a digital device and so forth. One could even ask for suggestions on some major life choices on these sites.
Unfortunately, this is not what Chinese SNS is about. SNS users here just bask in the illusionary pleasure of being able to buy houses, limos and even beauties."
China Daily reported Zhao as saying SNSs do not have a sound profit model.
He said, "At present, none of the SNS companies can break even, and they are just burning venture capitalists’ money."