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Finnish startup XIHA makes life easier for people living abroad
XIHA Life is the first online community in the world, where people can select several languages to contact like-minded people, write blogs, share photos and create their own homepage.
By: XIHA Ltd
All of the company's founders have been there and experienced moving to a new country several times: Need for getting acquainted with a new culture and, at the same time, keeping in touch with the friends and family back home. "Let's take a Chinese person who has recently moved to Netherlands. He or she probably wants to learn some Dutch and find local expatriate communities, which are typically English speaking. In addition to that, he or she can create a blog in Chinese or in any other language", tells Jani Penttinen, a Finnish entrepreneur who has founded his previous startups in California and China. "XIHA combines all those features into a single service. Especially women just seem to love it". During its beta testing phase, XIHA Life has had 1.2 million unique visitors, and over 70% of the members are women.
XIHA Life also connects non-profit expatriate and exchange student organizations on its country-specific search results pages. Registered users can suggest any sites which they have found useful in their host country. "Like all of the other content on the site, links are also displayed based on the user's language settings." Penttinen continues. "We are currently working on algorithms to make the user experience even better. Later this month, all of the user generated content will be automatically recognized, tagged and filtered by language. This is a unique approach, not found on any other service in the social networking space". The company plans to extend its services this year to all major web platforms, including OpenSocial and Facebook.
XIHA Life is the world's first multilingual online community. Based on an in-house developed technology platform, it's the only social networking service which allows its registered users to select not only one, but several languages to communicate with. XIHA Life currently supports 23 languages and plans to expand the number to one hundred in 2008. The site receives most of its users from China, U.S., Brazil, France and Spain.
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XIHA is a Helsinki, Finland, based startup company founded in 2007 and currently employs 8 people. Founder and CTO Jani Penttinen has 15 years of experience in game industry, including companies such as Remedy Entertainment and Electronic Arts. He has previously founded two startups in the U.S. and one in China. The name XIHA comes from Chinese and means 'fun' and 'happy' - a name invented by the company's co-founder Xiaowen Sun, a Chinese entrepreneur who currently lives in Finland.