A few days ago we read about fanfou.im on littleredbook.cn.
It appears to be an exact replica of Twitter in Chinese, with lots of useful added features such as the ability to add photos, shorten urls and use "Sogou cloud" a popular Chinese character IME. Crucially though, this is not a clone, it's a client. You can login using your Twitter account and follow your Twitter stream as though you were on Twitter.com (which is of course blocked in China)
We were intrigued, so we contacted the developer of the client Kevin Deng and asked him a few questions.
Ren Media: Hi Kevin. You built Fanfou.im right? Tell us more:
Kevin: Yes, fanfou.im is an interface for Twitter, based on a open-source Twitter web client project named "Twitese" (Twitter + Chinese). I'm just an ex-fanfou user, and in remembrance of fanfou.com I build fanfou.im. So there's no confusion, fanfou.im is just a Twitter client.
There are more sites based on Twitese: http://fanfou.de/ http://rabr.in/ http://tuite.im/ We developers are friends, too. The main contributor of this project is @bang590 on Twitter.
Ren Media: Do you have a business relationship with fanfou.com, or Wang Xing(founder of Fanfou)?
Kevin: Firstly, fanfou.im has no business relationship with fanfou team. It's just a tiny program I built myself. But now I'm working for the "fanfou team" lead by Wang Xing. I'm a college student in Beijing. I used to be one of the active users of fanfou.com. After the closure of fanfou.com, fanfou team started a new site called Meituan (meituan.com) on March 4th 2010, and it's a Groupon clone in mainland China. I became a marketing intern of meituan.com since March, 2010.
Ren Media: Are you working with Twitter? Have they contacted you about opening a China site?
Kevin: I don't work for Twitter (the company). By the way, I don't know if Twitter plans to open a China site. You know, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and so many sites are blocked in China. Google has left China mainland too. Therefore I don't think it's a good decision to open Twitter China, unless there is a new , comprehensive and innovative method.
Ren Media: When did you first open fanfou.im?
Kevin: fanfou.com was closed on July 7th 2009, and fanfou.im opened in November.
Ren Media: What are your plans for the future?
Kevin: I haven't thought that much, building fanfou.im was just to facilitate Chinese Twitter users, esp. ex-fanfou users. It's public welfare. I don't plan to use this site to get profits. And I'm still making efforts to improve it.
I'm a student major in media (communication), I'm not a computer programming professional. It's a hobby for me to build a PHP dynamic website. So I hope "Twitese" developers be united and work together. Twitese is a good project and easy to install on a server, making people in Twitter-blocking-country easier to login to Twitter. I have used microblogging service for many years. It's a significant invention and an intimate tool for the grassroots.
See the original post