Fanfou: A Chinese Website Which Is An Exact Replica Of Twitter

fanfouCalifornian-based company Twitter is the world’s most popular micro-blogging platform and the third largest social network tailing behind giants Facebook and Myspace, according to Compete. It has attracted millions of users to sign up for an account and that includes celebrities such as Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps. Some micro-blogging rivals like Plurk are trying to innovate new ways to overtake Twitter, but they simply can’t because Twitter has lots of media coverage made by news companies and websites and hence resulting in a rapid growth.

Currently, Twitter has two versions – the original website (international) and the Japanese version (targeting the Japanese). However, the folks at Twitter haven’t come up with a Chinese version yet, probably it’s because of many rivals in this field and the lack of people who post tweets in Chinese. And one of the rivals is Fanfou, a chinese website which happens to be an exact replica of Twitter and is quite popular in China.



Created in 2008, Fanfou copies almost all the features Twitter already has such as the light blue background in Twitter’s homepage (not exactly the same but quite similar), uses the same API as Twitter, similar layout with follower, following count and number of updates, public timeline, location and a short bio. Doesn’t all these sounds familiar? Well actually around 90% are the same, just that Fanfou offers one really useful and interesting feature that allow users to post updates easily from MSN, GTalk, QQ and mobile phones directly instead of just from the Web.


Fortunately, I’m not a novice in Chinese, therefore I’m able to understand what Fanfou does and its features without the need to do a webpage translation on Google Translate. Basically from the name Fanfou, it actually means “Have you eaten your meal or not?” in English. Having a similar concept as Twitter’s so-called slogan – “What are you doing?”, I feel that Fanfou is the “real” micro-blogging platform as compared to Twitter. Why I say so? From my observation, most of the updates posted by users on Fanfou are related to their thoughts, opinions and what they are doing now.

On the other hand, Twitter has a mix of both (“What are you doing now?” and Digg/StumbleUpon style). If Twitterers continue to share tons of interesting links with people and posting fewer personal updates such as “I’m at the airport now…waiting excitedly for my relative to arrive.”, then it’ll lose its original micro-blogging status and of course its popular and traditional “What are you doing?” slogan.

In China, there are actually still many websites out there which functions similarly as Twitter. Not only do the Chinese love to make replicas instead of racking their brains to think of creative ideas, other people in the world are also same. One great example is PacMee Malaysia, another Twitter replica. You can read the full review at Danny Foo’s blog.