YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen are no stranger to the Chinese market having launched a localized version of social bookmarking site Delicious after their company, AVOS, bought Delicious from Yahoo!. But the newest app from Hurley and Chen is on shakier moral ground as it’s basically a clone of six-second video app Vine for the China market. But that’s fine. Vine’s Chinese doppelgänger is called Wanpai, and it brings the video-sharing fun to Chinese social networks Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, and Renren.
Twitter-made Vine app doesn’t support those Chinese services, and probably never will. So Wanpai is nicely adapted to the local market. And adaptation is survival, as anyone with a basic grasp of anthropology – or logic – must realise.
Not only is Wanpai app (which was spotted by TechCrunch) pretty good, it actually works better for me than Vine. Whereas Vine is buggy on Android and its video recording feature is totally broken on my phone – which is not very good in a, you know, video app – Wanpai works fine on my device. Wanpai is available for both iOS and Android.
But how similar to Vine is Wanpai? In a word: very. There’s the same curated selection of themed editor’s picks in both, and both have browser-based embeds (another area where Vine is broken for me when using Firefox). The main difference is that Wanpai is considerate of Chinese smartphone users on very limited data plans, and doesn’t auto-play your buddies’ videos as you browse your social stream; instead, Wanpai waits for you to tap a video before playing the six-second loop.
In fact, I wish Wanpai would support Twitter so that I can delete the buggy Vine app.
Video-sharing apps have mostly failed in China due to a combination of limited 3G data plans in he country, and a universal lack of incentive to sit through an entire video that will, 99% of the time, be disappointingly lame. I’ll admit that I thought they’d be a huge hit in China in 2012, but it didn’t happen. But Vine — I mean Wanpai — might actually make it happen.
This article by Steven Millward originally appeared on Tech in Asia, a Burn Media publishing partner.