Evernote launched a Chinese version of its popular note-taking service on Thursday, marking the U.S. company’s entrance into a key country, which has already become its third largest market, behind the U.S. and Japan.
The company named the Chinese version of its note-taking service as Yinxiang Biji, translated in English as Impression Notes. The service will run parallel to the existing Evernote app service hosted from the U.S., allowing existing users in China to easily migrate information over to the new platform.
Evernote already provides a Chinese language edition of its note-taking services, which is available as a mobile app and on Windows PCs. But the new Chinese version launched on Thursday will operate via servers Evernote established in China, to help improve speed and performance in the country, said company CEO Phil Libin while speaking to an audience at the Global Mobile Internet Conference being held in Beijing.
China heavily regulates the Internet with its censorship controls. This often makes accessing foreign Internet services slower, according to analysts. Companies that choose to set up servers in the country can however be at risk of traffic being monitored or interfered with by Chinese authorities.
Evernote had initially been unsure about making an entry into the Chinese market, as there are few instances of foreign Internet companies succeeding in the country, Libin said. Google, eBay and Groupon have all entered the country’s market, but have struggled in the past with the government’s online censorship or intense competition from the China’s local Internet firms.
“Even though we heard the conventional wisdom, we decided that we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get access to all the energy and innovation in Beijing,” he said. “Doing business in China is notoriously difficult for U.S. technology companies. We know it’s going to be hard.”
Evernote has also opened an office in Beijing, with six employees so far. The company is aiming to build additional localized products and setup data centers in the country, along with developing new partnerships with local companies, Libin said. Evernote expects China will eventually become its second largest market, surpassing Japan by year end.