I will grow your user number and engagement, the pitch pumped this local startup USD110 million!

Chinese startups are not born with a small size, unlike those in the Silicon Valley with 2 people in a tiny garage, which probably is never going to happen these days in the middle kingdom. They arrive larger than life. The typical Chinese founders are often young but already have sufficient career experience gained from internet giants. At the moment when they are ready to start out their own, they should have secretly acquired a slew of clients and slyly raised millions of money from investors. Above everything else, they are too well connected, which is exceedingly important in a country where the networking game of “who you know” can be played into the extreme (meaning you probably can sell the most shitty thing to a company as long as you “know” the decision maker and I am not joking here).


Duiba, this Hangzhou based startup, is just another good example down the road. Founded in 2014, it first began to provide enterprise solutions for companies to obtain and manage users on their apps and now is also including growing your Wechat followers. It had raised its Series A round of USD 4.7 million in November 2015, followed by an undisclosed amount of Series B funding just two months later. Yesterday, it announced a USD110-million series C round led by private equity firms TPG and Orchid Asia Group. The founder and its team all had worked for big internet companies like Alibaba, Netease etc. Again a key success factor checked.


Duiba considers an ideal user journey is from potential to social sharing, or from no knowledge of your brand to become your brand advocate.


Its solution combines 3 mechanisms to achieve the objective:

  • Explosive SKU campaign: an instant boost of your new App user/Wechat followers or awaken your inactive user via customized online$offline campaign during special holidays/season
  • “Killer” Check-in: a method which is designed to attract your users to open your App/Wechat every day and highly enhance their engagement
  • Rewarding points operation: A way to encourage your users to collect rewarding points, then redeem them during the next purchase


And the 3 mechanisms are in fact leveraging two pillars: gamification and personalization.

Below is an example of a gamification of explosive SKU campaign promoted during the World App, which was supposedly fun enough to be viral.

Personalization means different user profiles will receive different game promotion or marketing messages. For instance,

-The young female users might be targeted at a check-in game of raising a virtual pet, which asks the user to feed the animal once a day and collect rewarding points, thus by doing so you keep them coming back

-The young male users might be asked to participate in a lottery winning game: check in the app every day to win an iPhone

Duiba’s Saas platform provides a dashboard tool for customizing the game and content; plus a comprehensive overview of user engagement data analytics. The pricing is divided into two categories:

Basic version: RMB19800/per year

Premium version: RMB36800/per year


The startup claimed that over 1500 mainstream apps in China are using its services, and the fresh fundraising will help extend its offer to more traditional offline businesses. It is said they already signed clients such as Watsons, China Merchants Bank, Aupres (belong to Shiseido Group), Haidilao Hotpot, Gome, Visa. In China’s digital age of catching your user’s eyeball and attention is an ongoing challenge and has a direct impact on the lifeline of your business, Duiba’s market positioning seems to strike a chord.

By: Cecilia Wu