Exclusive site attracts young and wealthy

13:27, November 25, 2009      

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P1.cn members Xiaowei, Wenwen, Ding Xiaoran and Feifei (from left)

After a long day of hard work, Kevin Qian needs to unwind from the daily stress - and in P1.cn, an exclusive social networking site, he has found the perfect escape.

Like the 30-year-old IT and finance consultant, the website's members are mainly young affluent people.

"As a young person in China, it is important to feel like an individual," said Qian, who lives in Shanghai and has been a P1.cn member for more than a year.

"Most of the time I'm in an office wearing the same clothes as everyone else. It's terrible. Being able to escape from that make me feel very exclusive."

Swede Svante Jerling, the website's co-founder, said there is a demand from affluent Chinese aged between 20 and 40 to network with their peers.

Currently, the website has a network of around 550,000 online members in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, most of them women.

On average, each member would spend at least 4,000 yuan ($585) a month on clothes, electronics and partying.

P1.cn founders have looked to three other online communities: Stureplan.se in Sweden for its snapshots of young, attractive, rich people; Facebook for its interactive function and asmallworld.net in the US for its invite-only system. P1.cn is three in one.

For 25-year-old Kelly Lan, who works in finance in Beijing, P1.cn is not a place to build friendships. Instead, it is for business - finding models for her own fashion shop.

"I have seen some faces on the website that could fit my clothes," Lan said. "For me, business is the most important."

"You can make friends, but I am a very careful person. I keep a distance from people I don't know. (The website) It's just for fun and looking at pictures of parties."

To keep P1.cn exclusive, membership is only available through invitation from an existing member. Each member gets the right to invite three others to join. VIP membership cost 400 yuan a year and offers discount in nightclubs, KTV and shopping malls.

Jerling said services are developed to let this group of people network with those who share similar lifestyles.

"We have trend scouts who invite people to night clubs, department stores and high-end events," he said.

P1.cn is not just loaded with beautiful people, but also filled with advertising from top brands like Bentley, Canon and Versace.

"We can find our potential client here immediately," said Stella Jun, marketing manager at Lamborghini. "Bigger communities don't give us that insight. We want to be seen with young affluent people."

With P1.cn attracting larger numbers of hits, Jerling is optimistic about the company's future and its long-term goals.

"China did not only survive the global economy crisis, it continued to expand," he said. "It is really the place to be when it comes to dealing with luxury consumption."

Source: China Daily
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