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New focus on photo-sharing

By Li Xinzhu (China Daily)

13:28, May 21, 2012

A woman using a smartphone to take a photo. Tuding, a photo sharing program developed by GyPSii Shanghai, has currently covered five smartphone platforms - iOS, android, symbian, blackberry and Windows Phone 7. [Photo / China Daily]

Lots of photography program developers were encouraged after Facebook's recent $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, a free photo-sharing program based on a smartphone platform that launched in 2010.

By April this year, the program had been downloaded by more than 50 million users around the world.

In China, the environment for photography program developers has also been affected. More and more companies are thinking of launching, or have already launched, photo-sharing programs in the hope they get the chance to become another Instagram.

Tuding, a photo sharing program developed by GyPSii Shanghai, is one of the most popular photography-related programs in China, currently with more than six million users.

"The concept of Tuding is quite similar to Instagram," said Yang Jianling, vice-president of marketing and sales at the company. He said that after the acquisition of Instagram, several venture capital companies contacted them. "Most of them are from Silicon Valley in the US. They contacted our investors in the EU," added Yang.

"We believe our program has huge market potential in China because the smartphone market in the country is booming."

Yang said that Tuding has currently covered five smartphone platforms - iOS, android, symbian, blackberry and WindowsPhone7.

"Chinese users' habits are unique. Instead of sharing photos taken of sightseeing trips and other scenes, they prefer to put photos of themselves or their meals online," said Yang. "We hope to guide them in the future to share more lifestyle photos. We want to build our own features."

The active users of Tuding are between 25 and 35 years old, with stable and relatively high income levels. "There is still a large space to grow," added Yang.

"We are not afraid of competitors except for the Chinese version of Instagram. They have already built up the brand."

Yang also mentioned that it is currently difficult to earn profits from smartphone-based programs but they are expecting a profit from advertisements in the future.

Meituxiuxiu, a photo editing program developed by meitu.com, a Xiamen-based photo service provider platform, has achieved 190 million downloads. Daily active users exceed 17 million.

"I've overheard that lots of small developers are involved in photo-sharing programs after the acquisition (of Instagram)," said Wu Xinhong, chief executive officer of meitu.com. "There will certainly soon be a large number of similar programs being developed."

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