We know that Evernote has four million users in China right now, but the nation is also home to a few note sync clones that have had more time to gain traction before Evernote properly launched in China in May 2012. Evernote’s biggest rival in China is Netease’s (NASDAQ:NTES) Youdao YunBiJi which, in new figures revealed last week, has risen to 15 million users.
That’s good progress for Youdao YunBiJi (literally: Youdao Cloud Notes), which was already at eight million users at the end of last year. Evernote’s entrance has not slowed down the uptake of its biggest rival, perhaps boosted by Netease cross-promoting Youdao YunBiJi in its other popular smartphone apps, especially its news reader apps.
Offering 80% of Evernote’s features for free
But the Chinese web giant has one more trick up its sleeve. As spotted by Technode, the CEO of the Youdao subsidiary, Zhou Feng, says that it plans to do 80 percent of Evernote’s premium features for free in its own service. Evernote charges RMB 30 ($4.85) per month in China (on a par with its global rate) to go premium. Youdao YunBiJi does many things for free already that Evernote charges for, such as offline notes access and 1GB of monthly data transfers.
Zhou Feng also threw around some larger numbers, suggesting that Youdao YunBiJi could have 100 million users in years to come. But that sounds like pie in the sky. Note that Netease makes most of its money from online gaming, so it can afford to subsidize its smartphone apps in this way as it progresses with its diversification.
Admittedly, power users or small businesses might find that Evernote offers more, such as the Evernote Business service.
There is one other rival from a major Chinese web company in the form of Shanda’s Mknote; it was the market leader back in 2011, but it has seriously lost momentum thereafter, possibly hurt by a lack of marketing and a loss of trust after Shanda shut down it’s Dropbox-style cloud storage service earlier this year.
(Editing by Willis Wee and Anh-Minh Do)