Recently, top Chinese social network Xiaonei (which looks a lot like Facebook and doesn’t try to hide it) launched its Open Platform for developers. With the launch, Xiaonei also announced a $50,000 application competition for developers who create the most successful apps on the Xiaonei Platform.
So how are developers responding? By copying top Facebook app developers, of course. Hiadong Wang has uncovered several apps that, following Xiaonei’s lead, are almost pure clones of their Facebook counterparts. His findings: many early apps are emulating RockYou‘s Likeness and 6waves‘ Cute Boys vs Pretty Girls.
(screenshots courtesy Haidong Wang)
As major social networks race to expand in international markets, a tough question arises for developers: how to balance your time developing for platforms with powerful and robust localization systems that will soon be offered to developers as well (see Facebook’s plans and hi5’s plans), versus developing for local platforms. (Facebook itself just launched a Chinese language version of its website, but we’re hearing many reports of censored access to Facebook inside China.)
As we’ve seen in many other tech markets, an import/export market opportunity definitely exists for developers hoping to apply some of Facebook’s greatest successes in local networks around the world. Who will become the big Facebook app exporters of our day? What will top Facebook application developers like RockYou do in response?