If you are a western reader, you may not hear about xiaonei(校内, means “at the school”). Searching “xiaonei” at Google UK site, possibly, the first one is their home page and the next would be this criticism article “Blatant Facebook Rip-Off Gets Acquired“.Also you will find CrunchBase giving the company a definition:
Xiaonei.com is a Chinese Facebook clone that was acquired by Oak Pacific, a Chinese internet consortium for an undisclosed sum.
Personally, I’m a Xiaonei user. The application itself is fairly immature. There is a big question of how their team manages the development because all the ongoing new features expose a lot of bugs, which means the users will definitely spot these bugs - seems (to me) that they don’t have a good development procedure.
Why this is bad sample? Everyone cares about what other people think of your country. You have seen a lot criticism news on how people clone Wii turning it to Vii, how people clone iPhone turning it to M4, etc. Every time I see those similar products coming out and read western users’ comments, you will get the impression of “copy cat”, “cheap bad product”. This is not positive impression if national industry wants to enter the world wide market.
Here we come, another bad sample. I think developers at Xiaonei has been brain-washed. I talked to one of the xiaonei developers a few weeks ago. Basically, he thinks that the clone is nothing wrong and the interface clone is not a big worry. (Well, I would worry about the icons copyright issue, isn’t it important?). What gives me a even bad impression is the company have a large number of developers graduated from top 3 universities in China. Then, you have to think about the education, what do they learn at university? University is not about knowledge, it’s the place where students grow up and shape their own personalities.
Here is a video, the CEO of Xiaonei talks about Product DNA), on YouTube. Ironic. Basically, what he said was that Chinese market is always clone others idea (online video market). It’s not going to be a good market share if he builds a video site clone again. So, here we come! The SNS clone is a better money booster.
The web industry in China is a sad story. Less people care about standards and health of the web. I read an article a few days ago saying the most dangerous domains are end with “.hk” and “.cn’. I’m a Mac user now, but I did get a lot of spams back to the Windows days when I browse some chinese sites(sometimes, they don’t render well in Firefox).
A product has its own “personality” I believe. It generates the culture in the company and exposes to the world - especially dealling with the web. The product name is under the clone category, it will never get out from it. Everyone knows we need to protect the natural enviroment, it hits back if you don’t. So does the web.