CHINA> Regional
Ideas forum surfaces on the Internet
By Zhan Lisheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-10-14 07:40

GUANGZHOU: Following on from the Internet shopping phenomenon, people in this South China city are now trading their ideas online.

Increasing numbers of professionals are flocking to "witkey" websites, which allow users to exchange services and information and share knowledge and experience in an online idea-trading platform.

At least 50,000 netizens are currently working for "witkey" websites.

More than 30,000 of them are white-collar workers, while the rest are primarily university students, Zhang Huilin, a technology director with a "witkey" website in Guangzhou, said.

Pang Jiantao, an employee with a local public relations firm in Guangzhou, is one making the most of the opportunities present themselves.

Whenever he has time, on weekends or holidays, he logs onto "witkey" sites he has registered for to work for bids posted there.

"As a PR professional, I have the experience to draft marketing proposals, which many enterprises, especially small businesses," the 28-year-old told China Daily over the weekend.

He said he stands to earn about 1,000 yuan ($147) from a successful proposal, which generally takes a day or two nights to complete.

"It is not very difficult for me to win the bids with all my experience," he said.

Zhang said: "Those who seek solutions online are primarily businesspeople from small and medium-sized enterprises, who, most of the time, look for designs of logos, products or even name cards, marketing and sales proposals and programming. And some netizens are looking for names for newborns."

He said payment can range from 1 yuan to thousands and that some bids attract hundreds of respondents.

Fu Xianghao, boss of a small ad firm in Guangzhou, likes the convenience, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the "witkey" web.

"Earlier this year, my firm received an order to design a dozen roll-up banner stands of three themes in just one week," Fu recalled. "I posted my requirements on a "witkey" web, which attracted at least 100 responses."

Fu said he paid just 500 yuan for each design he accepted.

"The witkey service is not only much cheaper but also much faster," he said.

While acknowledging the role of witkey web in complementing traditional industry, Liu Yongdong, associate professor of e-commerce at South China Normal University, warned web operators, solution buyers and sellers to be wary of the scheme's negative points, such as potential intellectual property rights violations.