5 questions with Si Shen

Just last month, Beijing-based PapayaMobile, a mobile social networking and gaming company, raised $4 million from DCM for the launch of its new mobile social networking platform on Android devices.

The company, which also has an office in Menlo Park, Calif., now has more than 3.5 million global users for its cross-platform mobile games.

Co-founder and CEO Si Shen was in San Francisco last week. Shen, a former Google mobile product manager in China, launched the company with Wenjie Qian in 2008. It now boasts a dozen games. Shen says that growth on Android has been very fast in the past six months.

PE Week Managing Editor Alastair Goldfisher talked to her about the fast-growing Android app market on other things related to the company.

Q: What are your fund-raising plans for future rounds.


In terms of capital usage, we have 28 total employees and we’re very efficient. The cost of operating in Beijing is much less than what it is here in the United States.

As we expand our products and services to a global scale, we look forward to partnering with our investment partners at DCM who bring a wealth of global gaming experience. But I don’t anticipate we’ll raise more capital anytime soon.

Q: Why is Android such an important platform for you to develop on?


If you look at the U.S. market, and at California particularly, you would think the iPhone is the number one mobile phone. But worldwide, android has a lot greater appeal. In China, Android games are bigger than iPhone games.

It’s an extremely fast growing market and as one of the first movers in the mobile social gaming platform on Android, we see a lot of opportunities. We also think that Android will become a huge player in China given the amount of effort and investment that Chinese carriers and manufacturers have put into the platform.

Q: Aren’t most of your users in the United States?


Yes. About 85% of our users are here, with about 10% in Europe. However, the number of users in China is growing fast in the past several months.

Android has a bright future in the international markets.

Q: Is it easier to create and market an Android app?


Definitely, the problem with the iPhone market is that it’s too crowded. If you don’t have Apple you in their app store, it’s difficult, almost impossible to get noticed. As a mobile app developer, it’s nit like that on the Android.

Q: Having come from Google, I’m curious to hear what you think of Google Checkout.


A lot of users have complaints about it. It’s only available in a few countries, which makes it hard for developers to expand. We need an easy-to-use billing system for cross-platforms and different geographies.

There is a billing solution and Google may not have it right now, but they’re in a position to fix the problem.