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Evernote in China’s Cloud Note Market Making an Unexpected Impact

Evernote is doing surprisingly well in China, though it still lags behind domestic competitors in terms of users, according to the folks at TechWeb. Evernote has already won over 1.1 million Chinese users since its launch last month here at GWC’s GMIC2012.

Still, Evernote’s competitors believe that the market for cloud-based note services has not yet come to maturity, though there is plenty of latent potential and mutual benefits to enjoy. The market still has a long way to go, yet the impact of Evernote has produced some curious results.

At the moment there are several domestic competitors in the Chinese cloud-notebook market, including NetEase’s Youdao, Shanda’s Maiku, and Xindian’s FIT. While they all generally offer the same services, one point that the article makes is that there are relatively few people using them in China.

Based on their estimation, only 10 million users in China have some form of notebook application at present, which is quite small by Chinese population proportions. Shanda’s Maike notebook is the oldest, and so it tends to have the most users at about 5 million. Youdao is the next biggest with 3 million users after a year of existence.

Take a look at the chart below from TechWeb.

The Chinese reads on the columns from left to right “Company, Market Release, Newest User Figures, Throughput Limit, and Supported Platforms.” The first four companies are Evernote, Youdao, Shanda, Xindian.”

So what’s the problem in China?

According to angel investor Xiao Wang, the market still needs time to mature. He assesses that cloud notebooks have not yet become a necessity for the masses. Presumably people’s habits are not conducive to note-taking.

Xiaodan Wu, CEO of Xindian (FIT), conceded this point, saying that few people actually use the applications at the moment. However, he says that a good memory is never as good as a worn out pen–in other words, even the smartest among us could use a notebook.

On his part, Weihang Jiang, responsible for Youdao’s cloud note project, said that his research showed some promising findings. Approximately 40% of people in China habitually take notes, but synchronization, mobile reading and writing, as well as retention of Internet materials were an issue for them. Therefore, he believes confidently in the product, pointing to the fact that the US and Japanese markets have already embraced Evernote rather warmly–Evernote was recently valued at $1 billion dollars.

Fei Yan, responsible for the Maike notebook product at Shanda, agreed on this point. He praised  Evernote’s entry into China last month at GMIC, saying that it brought a great deal of attention to notebook applications. According to his estimation, Evernote as a competitor has been very beneficial to domestic competitors companies. By importing the habits of people in foreign markets through Evernote, he says, the domestic cloud note market has experienced a greater surge of interest since May.

Though this is probably not the impact that Evernote intended to create, it does spell some good news for everyone.

Source: TechWeb

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