'Chinese Wikipedia' offers social networking too

22.05.2009
A Chinese rival of Wikipedia that also lets users join groups and chat as they might on Facebook has drawn on those social elements to pull ahead of its competition.

Hudong, which means "interaction" in Chinese, has become the largest wiki-based encyclopedia in the language since its founding in 2005, said company CEO Pan Haidong.

"We want to be the Chinese Wikipedia," Pan said.

Hudong has 3 million articles written by users, more than Wikipedia's count in English. The articles cover topics from astronomy to popular television shows, and the company expects their number to double in the next three years.

But Hudong is also a social-networking site. Users can chat in forums and join groups of people with shared hobbies, like bicycle riding or watching movies. The home page features top-ten lists and links to popular articles. Fan groups dedicated to celebrities like Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou and Jet Li, a Chinese actor, are especially popular, Pan said.

Hudong also awards work on articles with points, which users can spend to "purchase" articles and enter them into popularity duels with other entries, Pan said.