NextStep Directory - White label directory solution


Quick introduction to the NextStep Directory:

What's the underlying idea behind the NextStep Directory?

This directory was originally designed to help members of the business community in Shanghai to get in touch with each other. defines itself as “a single database of business listings set across a network of directories offering comprehensive service information that allows users to make informed business decisions from one location”. From NextStep Directory, About Us – More information here

Why was the NextStep Directory created?

The Creation of the NextStep Directory had two clear aims from the beginning:

- Capitalize NextStep's offline events power. NextStep organizes bi-monthly networking events in Shanghai, where businessmen can gather and exchange on various subjects.

- Provide a simple tool for entrepreneurs to find everything they need when starting a business in China: thanks to its comprehensive and qualified database, NextStep Directory addresses both start-ups and multinational firms.



Collaboration with Davyin:

On this project, Davyin has not only been in charge of the website development, but also one of the key actors from the beginning, since David Suissa, the appointed project manager, is also CTO of the NextStep Directory project on behalf of Davyin Internet Solutions: the whole directory engine behind the NextStep Directory was developed in-house.


Davyin is not only one of the major investors (creation of the full online platform), but also one of the owners of the project.



Key Features:

  • The NextStep Directory was originally conceived as a multisite structure on top of which a special affiliation program/system could be built: the implementation of the Directory as a white label. To enable affiliate websites to use NextStep Directory’s database and adapt their “directory” to their brand image, we created a multisite layer allowing different functionalities and themes to be customized for each affiliate. This system was successfully implemented on Shanghai Expat and Urbanatomy.
  • To be relevant and keep on being the most comprehensive business directory, NextStep Directory has to be accurate and provide the user with the best information there is. Implementing a CMS (content Management System) on such a project is vital for its success: Drupal is once again used at great extent, allowing definition different user groups (members can register as individuals or register their company), member comments on company’s services, company ratings, etc...
  • Very strong survey architecture was set up to allow input and output of data created by users: more than 40 different surveys can be found on the NSD, with a total of more than 300 fields site-wide.
  • On top of a multisite architecture, NSD is also built on a multicity architecture, allowing easy opening of new city sections: Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc...
  • Robust and scalable advertising framework was built in accordance to NSD requirements. Among other things, it allows tracking of clicks, direct ads management by advertiser users, management of groups of ads per categories, etc…
  • In terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the whole arsenal of online solutions was put at the disposal of the directory: from URL-rewriting and XML Sitemap to Meta tags, the website was built from the ground up according to W3C standards.
  • Having optimized the website for organic search optimization enabled an efficient launch of online marketing campaigns which helped increase traffic and get the website better positioned in search engine rankings and result pages(SERPs). NextStep Directory received one of the best grades on Website Grader, a reference in terms of website SEO evaluation.



The NextStep Directory is an evolving website very rich in features with many more still to come; for many companies and individuals in and outside China, its database has proven useful in many cases. We are particularly grateful to the NextStep team with which we were able to learn along developing this great project. We could never have come to such a colorful and feature rich tool without the invaluable, restless work of the NextStep crew, to whom the Davyin Internet Solutions team addresses its greatest thanks.


“When we look at it from now, working with Davyin as our partner on the NextStep Directory was perhaps the only solution we had to keep the project still running today and be able to look at the future. Thanks to their great technological insight, we were all able to make tremendous progress towards the web and technologies in general. More than just a partner, we were able to grow side-by-side and push together to project to where it is today: the most accurate and comprehensive directory in China.”

- Joseph Constanty


Technology used


Drupal, jQuery