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Evernote wants to expand its Chinese presence in a bid to crack what chief executive Phil Libin calls “the hardest” market.
The company behind the note-taking and archiving software says it is preparing to build a data centre in China. The move will improve the company’s service in the country but will also make its more than 1.1-million users in the country more vulnerable to government censorship. Indeed, the company may need to self-censor information on the service.
Even Chinese giants such as Sina Weibo have faced stern warnings from the government for failing to stop its users from spreading so-called false rumors.
At The Next Web conference last month, Libin acknowledged that this was part-and-parcel of heading into the China:
We worry about all of that stuff [but] you can’t allow yourself to be paralyzed by the worries.…If Chinese authorities need access to Chinese data in a lawful way I don’t think it’s realistic to say we’ll be able to stop it.
Chinese users reportedly make up around four percent of Evernote’s 30-million plus worldwide users, although only one percent of its premium subscribers. Improving its service in the country could see that number grow rapidly, allowing the company to make a bigger impression in the world’s largest internet country.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Evernote will be hiring an extra 30 Chinese employees bringing its worldwide total to 200.
Libin did however tell the journal that payment could be a possible issue in China, but that this would not act as a deterrent. He said the company wants to “do the hardest one first, jump into the deepest end of the pool first — that’s how we tend to operate.”