Evernote is waiting for approval from the Chinese government before it introduces a dedicated data center in the country, as it seeks to grow its user base and unlock the potential of “the hardest” market on the planet.
The company is waiting on the go ahead for the installation of the dedicated servers that will allow a fuller experience for Evernote users in the country, the Wall Street Journal reports. Evernote has already introduced a dedicated Chinese service — which has 1.1 million users — and the expansion will see it take on 30 local staff, taking it up to 200 worldwide.
The opening of a Chinese data center raises the possibility that the firm will need to censor information on its service however, while the security of data secured on the servers is likely to be brought into question.
Evernote CEO Phil Libin — who spoke at The Next Web conference last month — says that the possible government intervention is part and parcel of entering 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.
Libin says that, as a compromise, users in China will be able to choose to run the service through the Chinese center (once established) or its US-based servers, as is currently default. He also pledges to treat data requests from the government with “as much openness and transparency as possible”, which could be interesting.
Outside of possible data issues, local payment options are a priority for Evernote as it seeks to grow its revenues in China. Its user base there makes up 4 percent of its near 30 million registered users, but just one percent of its premium customers.
Libin told the WSJ that payment is the chief issue in China. He’s confident that there is considerable demand for its premium service, which include larger data allowances, increased sharing options and more, and expects that support for the Yuan will increase the number of paying customers in China.
As well as improving the service’s performance in China, a local data center will help Evernote appeal to local developers to build new apps and third-party integrations to make it more useful and used in the country.