Since its March introduction, Facekoo has drawn 350,000 users and is one of the fastest-expanding social-networking sites in China, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. And, says its Hong Kong-born, Berkeley-educated founder, that’s because it fills a void left by Western sites whose mere translations to Chinese miss all kinds of cultural differences. “You have to respect the local user,” Calvin Pak says.
While “face” is one of the first English words Chinese learn to spell, and “koo” means “cool,” the Facebook sound-alike was designed in its language and function to match the Chinese approach to the web. Facekoo offers a virtual world in which young people can interact playfully and choose imaginary careers. “It’s a tool for people to hang out with friends, in a silly way, with no pressure,” explained Pak.