Kleiner Perkins-backed Cooliris is taking the next step in international expansion today with the launch of a localized version of its photo-browsing app in China. To give Chinese adoption an extra boost, it has also partnered with Renren, the social network that’s often called the Facebook of China.
Chinese growth has been a priority for the company, said Sebastian Blum, the company’s vice president of international development. Cooliris was already available in China, but the combination of the localized app and the Renren partnership should definitely accelerate things. Through this deal, Renren has now been integrated into the Cooliris app, and it will also be cross-promoting the app to its audience.
This is the first time Cooliris has announced this kind of deal, but CEO Soujanya Bhumkar said that this seems to be “a good model” for global growth. Not that Cooliris is doing too badly on the international front — the company says that it has topped Apple’s Lifestyle app charts in 75 different countries.
“I think it’s safe to say that this is one of many partnerships we will be announcing,” Bhumkar said.
Over the past few years, Cooliris has tweaked its model a couple of times. It first became known for its “3D wall” technology that people could install to browse content visually, and then it launched a photo- and video-sharing app called LiveShare. More recently, it launched mobile apps that apply its 3D technology to “photo discovery” — allowing users to browse and share photos that were initially uploaded to other services like Facebook and Instagram. It might seem like Cooliris is coming awfully late to the photo-sharing party, but Bhumkar draws a line between “camera” apps like Instagram and “photo” apps like Cooliris. Cooliris isn’t trying to create the best app to take and upload photos, but instead the best way to navigate the photos that have been uploaded elsewhere.
The Cooliris app has only been available for a few months, but the initial results have been positive. The company recently announced that users have viewed more than 250 million photos.