Ganji (赶集网): A Look at the Giant Chinese Classifieds Platform

Ganji: Web Classifieds in China

Ganji (赶集网 / Gǎnjí wǎng) is a giant classifieds platform in China that has gone through quite a successful journey. Since its founding in 2005, the firm grew to a valuation of over a billion $USD by 2015! 

While it may be easiest to first compare it to Craigslist in the US, you’ll soon see how it grew beyond that to become more like eBay, Handy, Zillow, and (now mostly) Indeed throughout the ride.

In this article, we cover Ganji’s Company History, Service Offerings, Memorable Name, and Key Leader

Ganji Logo with Donkey Mascot

Ganji (赶集网): Company History

March 2005: website was officially launched. The team is based out of Beijing and prioritizes building the best online classifieds product in China. 
August 2007: Ganji sets up strategic partnership with Hong Kong media giant TOM Network.
November 2008: Just a few years in, Ganji is selected as “Top 100 Domestic Commercial Websites” by the leading Chinese category magazine Internet Weekly
December 2009: The firm opens a sizeable Shanghai branch as both web traffic and headcount rise. 2009 statistics show that’s user stickiness (accounting for things like time spent on site and total pages viewed per user) is the best of China’s classified sites.
January 2010: Ganji makes its first notable acquisition, purchasing tech communications firm
May 2010: Receives a joint investment of nearly US$20 million from Nokia Growth Partners Fund and Lanchi Venture Capital.
Ganji Former App Screenshots
Screenshots from the Ganji App around this time
March 2011:Ganji Group is officially launched to capitalize on the massive trend in and uptick of group buying in China. 
May 2011: Receives a US$70 million investment from Capital Today and Sequoia Investment, setting a new fundraising record in China’s online classifieds competition. 
July 2011: New relationships! Services ‘Ganji Marriage’ and ‘Ganji Life 2.0’, featuring an online dating platform, were released. 
November 2011: Noteable service Mayi 蚂蚁短租 (Mǎyǐ duǎn zū) is launched to serve the short-term rental and homestay market in China. CEO Yang Haoyong regards Mayi (also referred to as ‘Ant Short-term Rental’ in English) as “Ganji’s second entrepreneurial project.”
April 2012: Ganji launched Wowotuan ( as a dedicated group-buying e-commerce platform. The brand goes on to raise hundreds of millions in capital from investors like Goldman Sachs. As of 2024, the brand is focused on electronic/mobile payment and Point-of-sale (POS) services for merchants.
One of WowoTuan's modern merchant payment devices.
One of WowoTuan's modern merchant payment devices.
February 2013: hit some big user numbers. During this time, the platform had an average of 2.35 million new posts per day, 21.69 million visitors per day, and 253.66 million page views per day.
August 2014: Ganji’s total financing surpasses USD 200 million. CEO Yang Haoyong publicly states plans to take the company public in the United States in June 2015. 
58 and Ganji Together
Two of China's largest classifieds sites join forces in 2015
April 2015: announced that the company would strategically invest in Ganji, in a deal valued at USD $1.15 billion. 58 acquired a 43.2% stake in Ganji for 34 million common shares (17 million ADSs) and US$412.2 million in cash.
January 2022: announced that its now subsidiary  ‘’ / ‘赶集网’ 更名“ will be renamed ‘Ganji Direct Recruitment’ / ‘赶集直招’ and that the platform will primarily focus on the recruitment and jobs market.

Ganji (赶集网): Service Offerings

As of 2022, Ganji is primarily focused on the first item of this list – Jobs! The other services on this list all started out under the Ganji brand umbrella, but have been either merged into an existing 58 Tongcheng brand or spun off to another brand name entirely.

From the start, Ganji planned on offering a comprehensive online classifieds platform in China that offered a diverse range of services, not unlike Craigslist in the US. 

Here’s a breakdown of the main service categories offered across Ganji’s platform lifespan (2005-present):

  1. Job Listings: Ganji has a strong foundation as a posting platform for job seekers and employers. Users can browse job listings, post resumes, and connect with potential employers, similar in function to top international job sites like Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn Jobs. As of 2022, the platform name has been changed to reflect the brand focus on this core competency: ‘Ganji Direct Recruitment’ / ‘赶集直招’ (Gǎnjí zhí zhāo).

  2. Real Estate Services: The Ganji platform used to include a large real estate section where users could find residential and commercial property listings for sale or rent. This has since been spun off into the Mayi and 58 Tongcheng brands. 

2014 Job & Real-Estate focused Ad spot for Ganji – featuring the Donkey mascot!

3. Second-hand Goods: Users could buy and sell used items, including electronics, furniture, clothing, and more. This service has been directed towards 58 Tongcheng’s primary goods market. 

4. Local Services: Ganji facilitated the advertisement of various services – popularly local ones such as tutoring, home maintenance, cleaning, and event planning. This is also under the 58 Tongcheng brand now.

5. Automotive Listings: The platform featured another section for buying and selling vehicles, mostly second-hand used cars. 

6. Group-buying Services: Ganji had a leg up on the competition when got in on the group-buying craze, as it already had millions of local service businesses signed up on its platform. The business was spun out into its own brand, Wowotuan, which now offers a number of services for local merchants.

7. Pets: In the advertisement below, ‘Find a pet’ (找宠物 Zhǎo chǒngwù) is displayed prominently on one of the bags. It seems that pets were a large part of the former Ganji platform, and likely now under the 58 brand in some way.

Ganji China Advertisement Example
Ganji Advertisement: "We've got it all!" (啥都有 Shà dōu yǒu)

Ganji (赶集网): The Name

The term ‘Ganji’ (赶集) in Chinese is commonly translated to English as Go to market. The second part of the name in Chinese, 网 (wǎng)  just means ‘web’ in the sense of the internet 🙂

The Ganji Founder: Mark Yang Haoyong (杨浩涌)

Yang Haoyong Ganji Founder
Yang Haoyong Ganji CEO Photo

The Ganji founder has been a key part of the firm’s direction and success over the years. 

At the end of December 2004, Yang had hustled up USD $100,000 from friends to start an online classifieds business.  By March 20, 2005, launched out of a small office in Beijing.
After a merger of sorts in 2015, Yang Haoyong and CEO Yao Jinbo serve as co-CEOs and co-chairmen of the newly formed entity.
From November 2015,  Yang also served as the Chairman, CEO, and key investor of Guazi Used Cars (瓜子二手车 guāzǐ èrshǒu chē). Guazi has had immense success in China and Southeast Asia since and has raised hundreds of millions of dollars, valued as a unicorn.

The combined, impressive business successes he has had put him at #2674 on the 2021 Forbes Rich List!

Celeb Riding Ganji Donkey

Ganji: A Wrap Up

Ganij grew fast and efficiently in the late 2000s and early 2010s, earning a lot of brand value and loyal users along the way. Founder CEO Yang Haoyong led Ganji to a mutually beneficial merger with their largest rival, 58 Tongcheng, in 2015.

Since then, the assets of Ganji have seen continued success. The brand itself has been more targeted, now focused primarily on the jobs market and related career services. 

Check out our companion article on 58 Tongcheng.

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