Expat startup in China wins prize in Startup Leadership Programme contest

Published:  24 Jan at 6 PM
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A new online initiative by expats in China hopes to provide classified advertisement services to the entire foreign community.

Foreign startups in China are not new, neither is the increasing number of expatriates heading for the country’s untapped opportunities. Focusing on the present expat population of around 600,000 is a smart move for non-Chinese entrepreneurs, as evidenced by China Classified’s second prize in the recent Startup Leadership Programme demo last Saturday.

The expat-founded, Shanghai based startup’s strength is its founder's understanding of expatriate needs and the ease with which the site can also appeal to English-speaking Chinese nationals. According to founder and CEO Marian Danko, the expat market is expanding, albeit slowly, and the Chinese government is easing immigration regulations for foreigners wanting to live and work in the vast country.

Danko, originally from the Ukraine, has lived in China since the start of the expat boom and understands his chosen market as a result of his own experience. He’s hoping to build links with expatriate-owned businesses and reach out to distant foreign communities with essential listings such as real estate, jobs and the secondhand market.

Posting listings is straightforward and geographically unlimited, unlike most similar Chinese offerings, and the site’s software automatically syncs and uploads ads direct to the pages. According to Danko, similar sites currently online are poorly designed as regards posting listings, requiring a VPN, not offering a mobile version, are limited to specific locations and use outdated technology.

Whilst China Classified’s user base is being developed, all listings are free, but a premium service is to be introduced, giving one free listing before payments kick in.
Also on the agenda is a dedicated packages service for businesses serving the expat community, and payment processing can be had via WeChat and Alipay. At the present time, the new business is looking for extra funding and business partnerships, with Danko hoping its success in the Startup Leadership Programme’s contest will help it grow according to his vision.
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