Domob Claims Mobile, In-App Ad Supremacy In China

domobBased in Beijing, China, Redpoint Ventures-backed Domob says that its mobile in-app ad network is booming and well-positioned to take over the Chinese mobile ad market, according to its co-founder and COO Zhang He.  Moreover, the company’s executive team is now in place, plucked from Chinese internet services companies Baidu and Sohu.com among others.

But can Domob pull off something like an AdMob, which sold for hundreds of millions and became the backbone for Google’s mobile ad efforts?

It’s too early to tell.

Nevertheless, the work of the company’s 150 employees seems to be paying off. Zhang told AdExchanger that a recent study showed Domob is #1 among mobile ad networks in China and addresses 33 million uniques via 60,000 Chinese mobile app, creating over 400 million ad impressions daily.

Clearly, it’s not the billions of PC display ad impressions that occur every day on Right Media Exchange or DoubleClick Ad Exchange. But, as Zhang admits, “China is actually about two years behind the US market. Nevertheless, we’re expecting 600 million mobile users by the end of this year in China.”

He looks forward to a day when consumer goods, hotels, IT and finance brands pump today’s mobile marketing spend through his company’s ad network.

As for overall revenue, Zhang declined to talk specifics, but he believes his firm will deliver close to 150 million RMB ($24.4 million USD) to the network’s publishers as part of their revenue share this year.

Zhang sees a shift to brand awareness campaigns, too: “We used to work with advertisers who were promoting their mobile apps. Within the last year, our revenue has been helped by brands and their mobile applications. Brands value mobile marketing.”

Zhang He spoke to AdExchanger a bit more last week about his company and industry trends.

AdExchanger: When you think about companies in your competitive set in the rest of the world, who comes to mind?

ZHANG HE:  We are more like Millennial Media, but also have a product which is similar to what Chartboost is doing.

With a mobile exchange like Nexage, they work [directly] with publishers and get advertisers from other demand-side platforms and [direct] advertisers. We're not creating an ad exchange and don’t plan to at this point.  However, we’re open to working with the ad exchanges globally as well as DSPs with China business.

What are some of the drivers of China’s mobile growth in the next year to three years, in your opinion?

The first one is a huge amount of growth in smartphone users. Also, we expect to see games as a driver, with certain titles already generating over 10 million RMB ($1.6 million USD) as their monthly revenue.

Also, advertisers will increase spend in mobile while ecommerce companies will move and expand into mobile, which will be two additional drivers in the mobile Internet industry.

Finally, how much mobile ad targeting is possible in China? Is it different than what we're seeing in the US and Europe, where there are restrictions around the use of cookies in mobile?

Restrictions due to consumer privacy are similar to the States, from what we know.

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