Working with developers in China


Nadia Jiang

Job title

COO and Co-founder




DevRelCon London 2023

In this talk from DevRelCon London 2023, Nadia Jiang shares her experience as co-founder of China-based developer Q&A site Segmentfault. In particular, Nadia offers insights into how developer communities in China work

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Key takeaways

  • China is a booming market with great business opportunities, making it an incredible market to collaborate with Chinese developers.
  • Chinese developers tend to be younger, with developers under 30 accounting for over 63% of the developer population. Community strategies should align closely with the preferences and behaviors of young developers.
  • Chinese developers often work long hours, averaging 60 hours per week, which means they may have less time for free exploration or contributing to open source projects. Providing better products and developer support can help win them over.
  • Documentation and developer forums/communities are highly valued by Chinese developers, with 79% considering documentation important for learning and 71% choosing to improve their coding skills through these platforms. Prioritizing community-building and providing a platform for discussion and support can be an effective strategy.


Ramon Huidobro:

Without further ado, let’s move straight onto our next lightning talk. It is my esteemed joy to invite on Nadia to tell us all about working with developer communities in China. Sage is yours.

Nadia Jiang:


Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining me today. I’m super, very excited to be here and talk about working with developer communities in China. Actually, I’m quite nervous now as I just arrived in London the day before yesterday. I am still fighting with the jet lag and this is my profile. I’m Nadia, an entrepreneur and a huge fan of open source and I come from China. 11 years ago we founded Segmentfault, and later it was acquired by Today, Segmentfault has grown into the biggest developer Q&A community in China with over 7 million registered users. Throughout this 11 years, we’ve gained a lot of experience on how to build and scale a developer community and also some valuable insights into DevRel. So I’m excited to share some of this insights with you. And the first question is why we talk about China when it comes to developer communities in China seem like a whole different world, but I believe many of you here today and your team, your company, have dreams of going global and China can be an incredible market. Let’s see the screenshot from the GitHub Octopus Report 2022. You can see that last year over 20.5 million new users from all over the world joined GitHub, and this is China.

You can see that it’s one of the fastest growing regions for open source developers outside the United States. And behind this, there are super business opportunities. So how can we effectively collaborate with Chinese developers? Let’s start by getting to know them better.

You know that Chinese market is a very different world from Western countries, and firstly, Chinese developers tend to be much younger than those investment countries. I’d like to see how many of our friends here are over 30 years old. If your don’t mind, please raise your hand while so many people. And how about over 40 years old? Okay, still so many people, but however, in China, according to our survey, developers under 30 accounts for over 63%. And while those over 40 years old only make up less than 8%, that means if you want to connect with developers in China, your community strategies should align more closely with the preferences of young developers. And here I have some examples for you. You can see two pictures, some slides, and the left one is a boost of at a tech conference in China. And you can see some cute kites and interactive games inside of those old boring advertisements. That’s how you can attract young people. And on the right you can see some spark from our hack zone. And yesterday our keynote speaker joined told us that the swag is very important to an event and for your branding. And indeed we also think so. And you can see that the design of our swags perfectly catered to the taste of young folks and it earned us high praise from the community.

And another thing about Chinese developers, many of them work for crazy long hours averaging for 60 hours per week. It is a horrible number, right? And that means they might have less time for free exploring or contributing to open source project. So don’t be surprised if you found some of the Chinese developers a little bit less patient in your community. They just don’t have enough time. So my suggestion is that you need to provide them better products and developer support to win them over. And in our research we also found 79% of developers consider documentation as some very important learning results. And 71% developers choose to improve their coding skill on developer forums and developer communities. So the suggestion is that community first may be a good strategy. You may need to set up your developer center where you can gather OR resources, provide top-notch support, and give them a platform for freely discuss. And if you are thinking of building your own technical Q&A community or developer help center, I’ve just got the theme for you.

It is answer. It’s a knowledge-based Q&A community software open sourced from SegmentFault last year. This answer, individuals and organizations can efficiently build your own community. As you know, we have been building a developer community for over 11 years, and this software embodies our 11 years of experience, our thinking and the intelligence of my team. Last year we opened Source Answer and quickly gained widespread attention on GitHub. Answer has been featured on GitHub training for many times in just a few months with over 6,700 stars. Plus it’s completely free and with good developer support. And next, let’s talk about tech events. Many companies and organizations choose to participate in or hold tech events to expand market, but my suggestion is that when it comes to China going for smaller interactive tech events like hackathons or meetups, why? Well, the smaller events with around 100 participants create more opportunities for interaction between you and the audience. And it allows them to truly understand your products and services while building emotional connections with them, like a sense of community identity. And last but not least, to build a community is not an easy thing. Wherever you are, so long-term commitment is very important. And to conclude, remember, successful dev requires a clear strategy, continuous investment, a deep understanding of your target audience, killer products, top-notch developer supports and solid marketing strategies. And if you’ve got all those things done but still feel confusing or have some problems, that a local partner can be the game changer. My team Segmentfault, and I will always be here and try to be your best partner offering all source of assistance.

That’s the end of my talk. China is a booming market ready to be explored. I encourage all of you to consider diving into it, collaborating with Chinese communities, Chinese companies, and attending tech conferences in China. If you’ve got any plans, or you need a hand, don’t hesitate to contact me. This is my WhatsApp, my email address, and my social media account. And I’ll be in London for at least three months. So I’m also open for coffee or chat. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to give a talk at DevRelCon and for my friends in China who have given me courage to come here and stand here. And it’s great to meet all of you here and I’m looking forward to more discussion of stage. Thank you so much.

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