When we launched AppInChina at the beginning of summer of 2013 we were the first foreign company offering other foreign companies to distribute their android apps to the Chinese market or so we thought….
Must say I did searches and didn’t come up with anything exactly like this service. This happen after a friend coming for a visit to Beijing gave me the idea building it.
Anyway, a few months afterwards we started discovering copycats of our website. I’m not talking about legit parallel services building their own website, and offering . I’m taking about websites copying our graphics and text.
See this as example:
1. Market size – If you picked your startup wisely one of the parameters you should be looking at is market size. Appinchina is defiantly a growing market and a huge one. We are fortunes ( and challenged every day ) to work on a market of more than 0.5 billion clients. This is the target audience for our clients that they want to reach to and it keeps growing. As example: from May until August 2014 the number of android phone users in china has grown from 450M to 541M devices. That fast and large growth!
2. Offering – When your offering is out there to clients you need to realize that your offering might work for one type of people while your competitor will be good in attracting other type of people. Sometimes it’s not event about types, it’s just because you use a design the your client likes more ( which another person would dislike).
As example, we are using Zopim as a way for our clients to reach us the fastest way they can. We are there most of the day when somebody is up for a question. Now, just like zopim there are dozens of other services doing basically the same thing: A chat window in your website. The market is big and each service has a different offering appealing to different people.
3. Change – completion is won by staying fresh! I often been asked about how to fight IP infringements in China. So although for apps there is a way to prevent your app being hacked which we offer our clients. But frankly saying this is not full proof. People can always take the same app change the characters and have a very similar app. So the way to do it is keep coming up with new offerings to your clients.
Take a look at our websites first version. It was a basic one and offered our basic service. It was a great website manually coded to validate our service which was very successful. Then all the copycats started to show up that I mentioned previously.
We then realized that we should move on and Sky our developer moved us to WordPress platform so we can make changes and add content and pages more easily on the website.
We were then able to also change our services and have different offering. Different and better than the copycats. We now offer much more services than before. Our offering has changed and we deferentially ourselves from our competition. We are fresh, and will keep fresh!
4. Clients – as you get more and more clients you build your credibility which leads to more clients coming in and this is great branding. Nobody of the copycats can claim that they helped Uber or Duolingo bring their android app to the Chinese market. Yes, they can say that on their website but things like that go around and hard to lie about.
It’s a famous saying that if there is a competition there is a market ( and you probably doing something right) if there is no competition…well…you get it!
Now over to you
What’s your experience with competition or copycats? How did you feel when you discovered it and what did you do? Did you feel you had to differentiate yourself?
Featured image credit by Pascal