E-commerce and internet giant Jingdong (JD) launched a new crowdfunding platform this week. Called “Coufenzi” the site has listed 12 initial projects and is similar in approach to Demohour – presently the largest Chinese crowdfunding site.
Described as “Kickstarter-like” a report in TechinAsia, Coufenzi is outlined as a serious competitor to other similar portals in China;
“…JD certainly poses a threat with its far broader name recognition. Other Chinese crowdfunding sites include Dreamore, Knewbie, Angelcrunch, and iChuangye. Coufenzi is part of Jingdong’s other financial products and services like an ewallet and loans. The launch comes shortly after rival ecommerce giant Alibaba announced its own crowdfunding tactic for domestically-produced movies. The financial product allows anyone to invest as little as RMB 100 (US$16) and up to RMB 2,000 (US$320) in a select movie of their choice. Those deposits are bundled into the company’s wealth management and insurance products that pay a fixed interest rate.”
Since JD has a growing portfolio of internet based services inclusion of a crowdfunding platform is a natural next step in a huge market. Reportedly Chinese crowdfunding tends to be more of a pretail or presale approach with many products ready to ship. While both Kickstarter and Indiegogo accept crowdfunding campaigns from China neither has a full time presence in the country. Australia base Pozible recently launch a China facing portion of their site in a market that has been slower to adopt the new form of financing.
Technode described the cultural differences between the different views on crowdfunding as;
“Although inspired by U.S. platforms like Kickstarter, domestic crowdfunding sites have to adapt to Chinese market which is hugely different from where the model boomed. While the U.S. has a strong culture of donations, which is the basis of the crowdfunding concept, Chinese donors are more practical and interested in projects with tangible products that they can get in the near future. Pre-sale website for smart hardware seems to be a balance point that Chinese crowdfunding sites found for the model in China.”