The ultimate guide to Pinterest clones in Russia and China
Many experts in the area of digital forecast a great future for social networks based on visuals, such as Pinterest.
At the 2012 Webby Awards, Pinterest was nominated the best social media app, won the People’s voice award for best functioning visual design. In 2012 Pinterest became the fastest site ever to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark. According to ComScore, in February 2013 Pinterest had 48.7 million users globally, and in July 2013 around 70 million users (according to Semiocast). Experian Hitwise named Pinterest the third popular site after Facebook and Twitter.
But as it happens for several digital phenomenons, it fails on appealing to users from particular digital scenarios such as Russia and China. Here’s why.
Russian social media: Pinterest vs. pinME
According TNS Web Index, in the beginning of 2013 Pinterest had 405 thousand daily unique visitors from Russia – the number including both registered and non-registered users, ranging from the age of 12 to 64.
More successful is Russian clone of Pinterest, Pinme.ru. ComScore presents statistics of 4,5 million unique monthly visitors on Pinme, with 851 thousand registered users. About 9 users out of 10 are female.
Russian digital experts explain such big lap in statistic – the one between Pinterest and its clone – first of all because of the differences in language. Russians prefer to communicate in Russian language, avoiding content that they don’t understand (pins in English, English comments, foreign interface).
Some of the basic functions are different: Pinme users can search pictures by colour and mood, together with the classic Pinterest’s keyword search.
The pinterest influence in China
Pinterest and its clones can serve as a “virtual storefront”. A case study from UK-based online fashion retailer Bottica shows this quite clearly: users visiting from Pinterest spent an average of $180, compared with the $85 spent from users coming from Facebook. These users spent less time on the company’s website, choosing instead to browse from the company’s pinboard.
Further brand studies have continued to show Pinterest is more effective at driving sales than other forms of social media.
That’s the reason why in China there is not only one popular Pinterest clone – as Pinme in Russia – but over a dozen successful ones. Moreover, these clones are not only driving the sales, but actually creating them. Most of Chinese Pinterest-alike sites represent online shopping.
Ecommerce trends: Taobao & Tmall
This is due to a very strong ecommerce environment: recently, during Singles Day in November, Chinese ecomme platform Tmall (Alibaba group) recorded a groundbreaking record of 5.7 billion dollars sales in 24 hours (more details on this infographic).
Pinterest-alike features are implemented across several sites inside the Alibaba galaxy. One of them is Taobao Wow, the Pinterest-style site of Taobao — the most popular and the biggest online shop in China, similar to Ebay and Amazon.
There are two extremly popular Pinterest clones in China which are also connected to Taobao: Mogujie and Meilishuo. They are unique as they present only Taobao content, and – according to this report by Marbridge Consulting – this partnership represent a multi-billion reminbi deal.
Mogujie is a social shopping-guide website, making a platform for users which focuses on discovering beauty and the fashion produts, sharing shopping fun, and making new friends. Its core mission is to combine shopping and community , which provides more efficient recommendations regarding shopping decisions for consumers.
Mogujie has been the leading website in the social shopping-guide industry in China. At the end of June 2013, Mogujie has more than 29 million registered users, and the number of users will grow by 1.5million to 2 million at a month. Mogujie’s unique daily visitors has exceeded 3 million (source: China Internet Watch).
Meilishuo is a Pinterest-like site claiming to have around 30 million users in China, and over 10 million downloads of its mobile app.
Meilishuo focuses very much on women, with Pinterest-style user submissions made into categories like shoes, handbags, and home decorations. According to Yirong Xu, Meilishuo CEO – “It is a fashion interest driven social network for female only”.
“While a lot of Pinterest users in the US are women under 50, Meilishuo focuses on 20-35 years old white-collar and semi white-collar women only, those who have the leading spending power in China. In addition, Chinese women pay more attention to commerce than generic contents. This is why we position Meilishuo as a vertical fashion platform helping users find and buy beautiful things. More than 95% of sharing contents on Meilishuo are purchasable.” (source: Technode).
Zhimei is targeted towards both men and women. Users can login with Renren, QQ, Weibo and Taobao. The website holds frequent reward operations, contests and “Piggy bank” tool that allows users to gain virtual currency by inviting their friends and forwarding content on social media. Virtual coins can then be exchanged for real products. Brands like Evian, Vans, Bacardi, Adidas and other local brands created customized pages on Zhimei.
Adidas recently created a customized space on Zhi Mei to coincide with the 2012 Olympics. The brand integrated very well its campaign with the site’s features. Users could take part in special Adidas missions to win credits and get Adidas products, in the “exchange” section of the brand’s page inside the platforms, which users were also asked to “follow” (source: Lab Brand).
Here is another Pinterest-style website backed by an ecommerce platform: the popular Chinese online shop Vancl, which focuses on low-price fashion products.
The site provides lookbooks of users, product list by categories (mostly clothes and accessories) and mobile apps.
Pinfun has been one of the first and much-discussed Pinterest clones in China, due to its strict similarity with the original American website.
According to Alexa, visitors to the site spend roughly 48 seconds on each page view, and a total of three minutes on the site each day. The site is relatively popular among users in the city of Shenzhen, and about 53% of visits to Pinfun.com consist of only one page view.
Other Pinterest clones
Woxihuan is another Pinterest clone from China. Users can share pictures by pins and pinboards, including comments. Interesting is that 93% of users come from China, the others 7% come from outside the Chinese internet area.
Duitang is a Chinese and English platform. The Chinese version is connected to Renren, QQ, and Sina Weibo, the English one to Facebook and Twitter. It’s designed in a neutral style, similar to Pinterest, but still have more Chinese content.
IDsoo is an independent blog providing users every day fresh creative product information, and recommending wonderful creative works from global designers:
Topit is about fashion, art, design and illustration. It also enables its users to shop online products like furniture and electronics:
Also, Topit offers a pretty good looking 3D visualization mode, quite comfortable to use:
Ejingxi is still in its beta version, and it’s a website divided in boards focusing on stylish fashion and home design:
The list could go on forever: several Pinterest clones were unsuccessful and therefore closed – such as Xinxian, Budoou and Mishang.
China has been the fastest-moving digital scenario to integrate pinboard-websites with effective ecommerce strategies, and this is certainly due to the massive figures of the market and to the well established presence of online stores in several categories, especially fashion and home furnitures.
That’s our final take on this trend: