We had a visit in Palo Alto from Dr. Pan Haidong, CEO and founder of hoodong, China’s most popular wikipedia and wiki software. The hoodong wiki has over 1.5 million articles written by over 250,000 contributors, and the HDwiki software has been downloaded 200,000 times and currently supports over 1000 other websites in China. Pan Haidong was in town for a meeting with hoodong investors DFJ.
A common stereotype is that Chinese technology is not innovative but merely derivative. Americans talk about Chinese web companies and services in terms we can understand: "the Chinese Google," "the Chinese FaceBook," "the Chinese Youtube," and so on. And yet, with all of the web2.0 action in China, you know that there are things happening in virtual China that could be adopted and even monetized in the English-language environment. Says Pan Haidong, "At first we were the copycat. "C2C" is a "copy to china" model. Then we improved it and localized it and other Wiki developers outside of China learned from us and embedded these features into their systems."
Hoodong is an example of how we can miss what’s innovative about
Chinese online platforms, tools, and features, simply out of ignorance and the lack of
English-language information on such developments.
Notes from interview with Pan Haidong:
There was a lack of wiki software in China. Before HDwiki, there
were around 200 wiki sites in China, most of them using
MediaWiki–which is the basis for Wikihow and Wikipedia. But the
and functions. It’s too hard for Chinese characters and doesn’t quite
fit Chinese internet user behavior. So that has made most of the
Chinese wiki websites stagnant and unable to draw in more users.
That’s why we developed our free, opensource software, the first of
its kind in the world. Hoodong wiki. We released the first version in
November of 2006 and by November of 2007 we have version 3 with added
functions, features, and more stability. There are about 1000 websites
using our software, consisting mostly of tech researchers, OS groups,
government, universities, and high school students.
Wikis are really popular in tech companies like Sina and Sohu
because it’s a very good tool or platform for the software industry,
for working on documentation. And it’s easy for tech guys to adapt to
this new software. Sina, Sohu, and Netease have a lot of internal