First of all a very Merry Christmas to our ZDNet Asia readers!
This week we continue with our focus on Web 2.0 startups in Hong Kong; last two weeks, we highlighted EditGrid, an online spreadsheet company. This week, we will explore a different Web 2.0 application and startup.
Everyone knows that "data is king" in the Web 2.0 world, and it is "your" data that we are talking about. What data? Data such as your photos, your videos, your blog, your bookmarks, etc. Your data makes Web 2.0 work. Imagine flickr without your photos, YouTube without your videos, or del.icio.us without your bookmarks. And that is why TIME magazine made You the Person of the Year for 2006!
This week we highlight Web 2.0 applications for a different type of data--booklists. A lot of readers around the world like to keep track of books they read and notes, blogs or reviews they wrote about these books, and then share their lists with other like-minded people. In many ways, online booklists share similar benefits to online bookmarks, allowing you to use Web 2.0-style collective intelligence to explore and search for new and interesting items. In the case of online booklists, the items are recommendations for book to read.
Online booklists is still a relevantly new market. The leading player is probably LibraryThing and they only went live little more than a year ago. According to their Web site, they now have over 8 million books listed in their members' bookselves.
In mainland of China, the leading online booklist provider is douban. Their Chinese version went live close to two years ago, while their English site is roughly 1 year old. Unlike LibraryThing, douban also provides music and movie list services.
In Hong Kong, we also have a cool Web 2.0 startup in this new market--anobii. Its public release was only earlier this year. One of its niches is that it supports book names in 10 different languages! It also allows you to conveniently import and export booklists from and to spreadsheets, such as EditGrid, Google Spreadsheet or Excel. It also provides RSS feeds so you can share what you are reading with your friends.
According to Greg Sung of aNobii, online booklist services offer a lot of interesting business potentials. We will publish an interview with Greg next week. Stay tuned!