Evernote has announced that it has launched a dedicated service for Chinese users, Yinxiang Biji, which will run completely separate of Evernote and its existing Chinese-language offering.
Last week, CEO Phil Libin revealed that the firm was close to opening a data center in China, however he didn’t reveal that an entirely new organisation would be created. In addition to Chinese servers, Yinxian Biji will have a Beijing-based team and its own, new products are expected to come soon.
Evernote is already active in China — where it has 1.1 million users — and it says that the existing service there will continue on, unaffected, providing users with a choice between using the two.
Yinxiang Biji will initially be developed in parallel with Evernote, and share much of its code-base and features, but it will grow into a distinctly different service that offers a number of benefits.
It will “make it much easier” for Chinese developers to build apps and integrations with the service, while Chinese partners and payment options will benefit customers. Yinxiang Biji will also offer a Chinese customer support base for its users.
Explaining the move on the company blog, Libin says the move will provide a faster, more reliable and local service, in line with requests and feedback that the firm has seen in the country.
Furthermore, he reveals that Yinxiang Biji will allow Evernote to provider a better focused service to grow its presence in the important global market:
Our goal is to improve the lives of everyone around the world by giving them a second brain and a perfect memory. Our user base in China is growing quickly; with over a million users, it’s already our third largest country and at the current rate it’ll soon top Japan to move into second place. We’re really pleased with this, but, frankly, using Evernote in China hasn’t been a great experience.
The service is launched and live in China now, however one notable disclosure is worth reading for any Evernote fans in China considering the local option:
The laws and practices controlling data stored on servers in China are evolving rapidly and Yinxiang Biji will comply with Chinese regulations applicable to the service. This means users of Yinxiang Biji should be aware that Chinese authorities may have the right to access their data according to current regulations.
Libin touched on this issue last week, conceding that “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.”
For that reason, the existing Evernote China service remains up and running, providing a more secure option, albeit with less local customisation, which could be significant as apps and other third-party integration is added.
Speaking at The Next Web 2012, Libin revealed that the company now has 30 million users and, one key focus of its move in China, will be to grow the number of premium, paying users from the country.