China's Tencent looking at U.S. opportunities for WeChat app

huaxia rox

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China's Tencent looking at U.S. opportunities for WeChat app | TechHive

Chinese Internet giant Tencent is eyeing the U.S. mobile Internet market with its popular WeChat product, a messaging app that lets users send messages, voice recorded notes, and pictures to friends on the service.

"We recently put together a small project team for WeChat to study the U.S. market and explore future potential opportunities," said Tencent's director of investor relations Jerry Huang on Monday in an email.

In China, Tencent is best known as the company behind QQ, the country's largest instant messaging client. It also runs a popular Internet portal, publishes online games, and operates social networking websites. In the third quarter of last year, the company pulled in US$1.8 billion in revenue, which was more than Facebook did.

Tencent's WeChat product has been the latest mobile app to take China by storm and has 300 million user accounts. It is similar to the U.S.'s WhatsApp product.


In China, users view WeChat as a way to send free SMS messages, and save costs on their phone bills, said Michael Clendenin, managing director of consultancy RedTech Advisors. The product is also a convenient way to leave voice messages, in a nation where voice mail is seldom used.

"It's become popular in China, because it's a little cheaper, and it's quite fun," he said. "That's a great formula for success."

Tencent declined to offer a breakdown of its WeChat users by country. But analysts said that WeChat's popularity has been growing outside the country among overseas Chinese users, and in emerging markets such as Indonesia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Chinese Internet companies have so far struggled to become major players in foreign markets. But Tencent is one of the few firms with the potential to succeed in the U.S., Clendenin said. The company already has offices in the country, and has acquired financial stakes in U.S. game developers such as Epic Games and Riot Games.

"It's just the beginning for them," he said. "Even if WeChat isn't wildly successful, if it's a moderate success and get's their name out there, then who knows. Maybe in five years at that point, Tencent will have established a beachhead and improved its reputation."

Analysts also said that the WeChat app is well-designed, and built for an international user base, rather than a Chinese one.

"If you didn't know it was from China, you wouldn't be aware of that," said Duncan Clark, chairman of Beijing-based technology consultancy BDA. "It's transcended it's Chinese-ness."

Tencent has been continually adding new features to the app, to include social networking functions such as a status feed. This could make the app not only a threat to WhatsApp, but also to Facebook, Clark said.

"The Chinese are coming," he added. "They have so much capital. Tencent is neck and neck with Facebook. It's very strong company, and in that respect it has the resources to take on the big guys."
 
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nimo_cn

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Tencent is also promoting WeChat through a company name Ibibo in India, people who are interested in this app can download it to your smartphone from the link below.

WeChat - Download

You may meet some good Chinese netizens who talk sense, unlike we 50-centers, you never know.
TenCent Focusing WeChat In India; Monetization; No Plans For Other Products - MediaNama

TenCent Focusing WeChat In India; Monetization; No Plans For Other Products

By Apurva Chaudhary on Jan 25th, 2013 | Comments Off Email Tweet inShare.0
WeChat, a rich media data messaging app by Tencent, has crossed 300 million users globally on January 15, 2012.WeChat gained 300 million users in just about two years since its launch and added the last 100 million users in just about four months. WeChat also launched its application on the BlackBerry platform on January 21, 2012. Interestingly, WeChat launched its BlackBerry app to cater to Indian users. The app is already available on iOS, Symbian, Windows phone, and Android platform.

Jack Lau (Country Manager – India, Tencent International Business Group), in an interaction with MediaNama, declined to share India numbers. Rahul Razdan, President, ibibo Games & Mobile, pointed us to the report by Techinasia, that India is actually the second-most popular area for WeChat outside of its native China, and although he said he doesn't "endorse" the report.

The relationship between TenCent and Ibibo

Interestingly, TenCent launched the app in India through Ibibo (MIH India). Ibibo will help distribute and market the app in the Indian market. While Tencent didn't necessarily have to launch the app through ibibo, Lau had been evasive about the approach. He looks after the entire WeChat operations in India including product placement, performance and improvements, among others, while ibibo looks after marketing and tie-ups. Recently ibibo had partnered with Blogadda to launch a blogger's campaign in India. Razdan informs us that the campaign was carried out for getting user feedback rather than promoting.

Note that Tencent has a 20% stake in ibibo (MIH India), while Naspers has 80%. Naspers also holds stake in other instant messaging app, Nimbuzz.

TenCent's Plans For India

Lau informs us that Tencent is globally focusing on WeChat and has no plans to launch any other Tencent products in India for a while. Earlier, Tencent and ibibo had launched iBrowser mobile browser in India, which the company claimed had crossed the 6 million downloads mark, with 50% active users by last year.

In Talks For Operator Tie-ups

WeChat has not tied up with any telecom operators in India yet. However, they are in talks with various handset manufacturers and telecom operators, Razdan informs. Tie-ups with telecom operators will only help WeChat boost it's user numbers, especially with customized data plans for WeChat. WhatsApp, which is widely used in India, has been relatively slow in tying up with operators, and has an exclusive tie-up with Reliance Communications, for a plan which offers unlimited usage of WhatsApp across the country for Rs. 16/month.

Monetization Through Official Accounts

WeChat also offers brands and personalities to create an official account. This is only available on the web and not on the mobile. While it's free for users to create an official account, to operate the account, users are required to get an approval from the WeChat team. WeChat users can follow official account to receive their messages. Currently, Official accounts can send only a message per day, this is to control spam.

Official accounts are hugely popular in China, however, Razdan informs us that it's too early in the Indian market and no Indian brands or personality has signed up for official accounts yet. WeChat might use this feature as a way to monetize in the near future.



Push To Talk

WeChat comes with a wide range of features including instant messaging, look around, shake to connect, moments, push to talk, location based sharing, group chat, among others. Its push to talk feature remains a most used feature by users. However, WeChat did not disclose whether this feature was popular among Indian users. (Nikhil adds: We were under the impression that push-to-talk is illegal in India).

Web interaction

WeChat has also launched a web interface to allow users to continue chatting with their connections once on a a laptop. All a user has to do is log in to web.wechat.com and scan the QR code from WeChat, the application then sends all new messages to your connected desktop device and on phone simultaneously. The web based interaction does not store any messages.

On privacy

While WeChat does allow one to connect with strangers with their location based look around, shake to connect, and WeChat id, interestingly users have to send a request to connect to users. Only once approved by them, one can send messages. In reference, Whatsapp, kik, hike, and other instant messaging apps scan user's phonebook and add contacts to the app that already use the app. This has become a huge privacy concern for many users as anyone with your phone number can send you a message, including for marketing.

With the introduction of Do Not Disturb service by TRAI, where it allows one to opt out of receiving spam messages through SMS, the noise has been reduced. However, a similar option is not available on WhatsApp and other messaging services. If your phone number has spread out to marketing guys, you are bound to receive spam messages and the only option to stop them is to block the contact.

iPhone app update

In coming weeks WeChat will be launching a new version, WeChat 4.5, on the iPhone with new features
 

amoy

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Interesting. Never tried weChat before n thought it just similar to Skype or MSN or Weibo. How abt running it on Android?

Sent from my 5910 using Tapatalk 2
 

t_co

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Interesting. Never tried weChat before n thought it just similar to Skype or MSN or Weibo. How abt running it on Android?

Sent from my 5910 using Tapatalk 2
Wechat is ----ing amazing. Love the app, so easy to use. Efficient, too--uses 25% less of my dataplan than competing apps
 

cir

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I consider WeChat one of the best innovations since sliced bread。

Since using WeChat,my monthly mobilephone bill has on average dropped 85%。:thumb::cool2:
 

huaxia rox

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the significence here is prc is said to be not having some great private owned companies.....well i agree to some extent (although i firmly believe no matter its a state owned company or private so long as its a good company then thats ok).....

compared to state owned giants like Sinopec who can have yearly revenue of more than 300 billion USD tencent and huawei and lenovo etc etc are really like penat in size but they are growing very fast and what they are doing is surely more high tech and high end and their products and services even have more influence than those who can only drill oil or generate electricty or produce steel......

i think in this decade we can finally see some sumsung or mirosoft kinds of chinese companies out there......
 
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Ray

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China's Tencent
No offence meant.

Just curious.

Why name it Tencent, when it has negative connotations?

Is it a Govt sponsored group who are active?
 

huaxia rox

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what do you mean by negative connotations?? 50 cents???

the chinese name of the company is 腾讯 and if you directly put it as teng xun accoding to the chinese pinyin then western consumers would feel weird to pronunce the word.....so some chinese firms would change the name in english language....

and of course govt can have some influnce in some private owned companies like tencent.....its not a small one in prc......
 

Ray

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what do you mean by negative connotations?? 50 cents???

the chinese name of the company is 腾讯 and if you directly put it as teng xun accoding to the chinese pinyin then western consumers would feel weird to pronunce the word.....so some chinese firms would change the name in english language....

and of course govt can have some influnce in some private owned companies like tencent.....its not a small one in prc......
huaxia rox is equally weird to pronounce.

so, should you make it Mack Tuchkoo?

Have you not noticed that 'Sinkiang' is now written and pronounced as 'Xinjiang'?

Or 'Peiping', 'Peking' as 'Beijing'?

So, why has China to cater for the Western convenience for pronunciation?

They should get used to the Chinese way. Take it or leave it!

Or is it more important to the Chinese to make it easy so long as MONEY is reaped and in that field Nationalism and Patriotism and Chinese Supremacy is secondary?

I fail to understand why China has to change everything to suit the West!

China is calling the shots in the economy and so the West should change their names to the Chinese way!
 
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huaxia rox

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huaxia rox is equally weird to pronounce.

so, should you make it Mack Tuchkoo?

Have you not noticed that 'Sinkiang' is now written and pronounced as 'Xinjiang'?

Or 'Peiping', 'Peking' as 'Beijing'?

So, why has China to cater for the Western convenience for pronunciation?

They should get used to the Chinese way. Take it or leave it!

Or is it more important to the Chinese to make it easy so long as MONEY is reaped and in that field Nationalism and Patriotism and Chinese Supremacy is secondary?

I fail to understand why China has to change everything to suit the West!

China is calling the shots in the economy and so the West should change their names to the Chinese way!
1 i myself is not a company and how do you feel about the ID i use is not what i need to concern....

2 every mainland chinese company has rights to choose its name be it chinese name or english or spanish or what ever according to certain laws.....huawai thinks its good to have this english name and tencent thinks tencent is good to choose this.........whats the freaking problem here??? whats your suggestion??? name it tollywood???

3 chinese only make chinese language the only offcial language.......this alone says we dont need to change anything to suit the west.....of course you are from a nation using english as your offical language and you used to have some defence minister called George Fernandes..........i dont expect you to understand what i am saying but what a joke you come here to lecture us chinese about 'change everything to suit the West'???do you see any chinese politicians have english names but not chinese???

4 the beijing peking kind of changes is due to simple reasons....cpc won the civil wars then the pinyin was introduced....according to the pinyin system 北京 should be called beijing.......you can pick to ignore this if you dont want to do anything related to prc. if not the case you will know the offical translation of the capital of prc in english is beijing which you have to make sure correctly written when say signning legal documents.....and how foregners like westerners feel about the name beijing is not what we need to concern........and actually whats so specially about that??? Mumbai?Bombay?


What is so difficult to pronounce that?
when did i say its difficult to pronounce???
 
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nimo_cn

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No offence meant.

Just curious.

Why name it Tencent, when it has negative connotations?

Is it a Govt sponsored group who are active?
well, 50-cent had not been invented yet when Tencent was established.

Tencent is a south Africa sponsored company.

Sent from my HUAWEI T8951 using Tapatalk 2
 

Ray

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1 i myself is not a company and how do you feel about the ID i use is not what i need to concern....

2 every mainland chinese company has rights to choose its name be it chinese name or english or spanish or what ever according to certain laws.....huawai thinks its good to have this english name and tencent thinks tencent is good to choose this.........whats the freaking problem here??? whats your suggestion??? name it tollywood???

3 chinese only make chinese language the only offcial language.......this alone says we dont need to change anything to suit the west.....of course you are from a nation using english as your offical language and you used to have some defence minister called George Fernandes..........i dont expect you to understand what i am saying but what a joke you come here to lecture us chinese about 'change everything to suit the West'???do you see any chinese politicians have english names but not chinese???

4 the beijing peking kind of changes is due to simple reasons....cpc won the civil wars then the pinyin was introduced....according to the pinyin system 北京 should be called beijing.......you can pick to ignore this if you dont want to do anything related to prc. if not the case you will know the offical translation of the capital of prc in english is beijing which you have to make sure correctly written when say signning legal documents.....and how foregners like westerners feel about the name beijing is not what we need to concern........and actually whats so specially about that??? Mumbai?Bombay?



when did i say its difficult to pronounce???
No issues with you and your name or what China decides to do.

Only issue is that fror Money China will sell her soul!

All the Patriotic Nationalism and hoohah is sold to the altar of MONEY!

Your post is am example of failure to justify a sausage and cover up selling your Soul for Money!
 
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Ray

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well, 50-cent had not been invented yet when Tencent was established.

Tencent is a south Africa sponsored company.

Sent from my HUAWEI T8951 using Tapatalk 2
Not Chinese?
 

DivineHeretic

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The US and indeed the western market is saturated with local service providers, who are giants of the industry. It would have been better, and easier if the first targets were made in Africa, and the Latin America, where competition is not so stiff, and internet penetration is increasing at a brisk rate. Such conditions are ideal for establishing a foothold in a foreign country, and provides ample opportunities for growth to greater number, atleast initially.

But, anyways, I cant see why they shouldn't go for the biggest market. As long as they have something new and refreshing to offer, people will be interested. In any case, it will be a good exposure to the outside world for a chinese company.

There will be initial doubts on the minds of the people regarding communication privacy, going by the CCP records. They could assuage this by basing their servers in the US itself.
 

nimo_cn

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Not Chinese?
South African Naspers purchased a 46% share of Tencent in 2001 when Tencent was going bankrupt 3 years after it was founded, and as of 2010 Naspers was still holding 36% of Tencent.
 

Ray

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South African Naspers purchased a 46% share of Tencent in 2001 when Tencent was going bankrupt 3 years after it was founded, and as of 2010 Naspers was still holding 36% of Tencent.
Thanks.

So it is a Joint ownership so to say with the Chinese being the major shareholder.
 

amoy

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My feel Ten Cent has a big chance to b another Facebook another Twitter.

It's gettin more and more globalised.

Tencent to Gain Nationwide Visibility in Indonesia With Global Mediacom Partnership - xinmsn tech & gadgets
It is no secret that Global Mediacom has gigantic media power under its disposal, spanning from TV channels, newspapers, online media, and even up to entertainment companies. This move by Tencent will definitely increase its brand visibility significantly in the country. It is also not the first time a Chinese tech company linked up with one of Hary's companies, as Chinese entertainment and news media provider Linktone acquired online news portal Okezone three months ago.

This move will help boost Tencent's WeChat localization effort in the country. WeChat's features alone will likely appeal to the typically more social Indonesian demographic, getting an early jump on other rising chat apps such as Line and KakaoTalk. Visibility should no longer be the issue for WeChat, but there is still another stumbling block to be tackled because the app is still unavailable on Indonesia's favorite smartphone platform Blackberry.
Chinese Tencent and Baidu still grow well in Vietnam despite bad warnings - News VietNamNet
A report of AppAnnie Intelligence said that WeChat now ranks the 19th among the "hottest" software on Google Play and Apple Store in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese software of this kind, Zalo, ranks the 26th only on both the app stores.

The landing of Chinese Internet service firms have caught the special attention from Vietnamese media, which explained why this was one of the 20 most outstanding ICT events in Vietnam in 2012 as selected by the ICT Journalists' Club.
A bit convinced of the conspiracy theory that China's ban on Google Facebook Twitter and Youtube gives ways to their Chinese parallels Baidu, Weibo, Ten Cents and Youku+Tudou and the likes, in view of the vast market potential China herslf holds ah ha?!

Give its stock a "buy"?
 

nimo_cn

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Thanks.

So it is a Joint ownership so to say with the Chinese being the major shareholder.
I never said Naspers was the only owner of Tencent, but with 36% share, Naspers is stil the largest shareholder, even larger than the main founders.

And if Naspers didn't came to purchase the share of Tencent in 2001, it is very likely that Tencent couldn't make it. The first 3 years of Tencent was very tough, because it wasn't profitable at all.

Before Naspers, the founders of Tencent wished to sell Tencent to ChinaNet, a state-owned telecom company at the price of 1 million RMB, but ChinaNet only offered 600,000 RMB, so the deal failed.
 
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Ray

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I never said Naspers was the only owner of Tencent, but with 36% share, Naspers is stil the largest shareholder, even larger than the main founders.

And if Naspers didn't came to purchase the share of Tencent in 2001, it is very likely that Tencent couldn't make it. The first 3 years of Tencent was very tough, because it wasn't profitable at all.

Bebfore Naspers, the founders of Tencent wished to sell Tencent to ChinaNet, a state-owned telecom company at the price of 1 million RMB, but ChinaNet only offered 600,000 RMB, so the deal failed.
Then who owns Tencent?

And why is it is China's Tencent?

Tencents Homepage states:

Founded in November, 1998, Tencent, Inc. has grown into China's largest and most used Internet service portal. In its ten-year history, Tencent has been able to maintain steady and fast-paced growth by always putting its users first. On June 16th, 2004, Tencent Holdings Limited (SEHK 700) went public on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Tencent - About Tencent
It is said that Jason Zeng (曾李青), is the largest shareholder.

In May 2001, Naspers acquired a 46.5% interest in Tencent Holdings Limited.
 
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