Couple weeks ago we mentioned that China Telecom was beta testing its mobile IM Yiliao that lets users sending SMS/MMS/audio messages for free after China Mobile and China Unicom had cautiously adapted to the trends by releasing their Kik-like free messaging tools.

Today the second largest Chinese operator officially launched the mobile IM with its vice president Yang Xiaowei and Xiao Jinxue general manager of Innovation Division attending the launch event.

Yiliao which supports iOS and Android bases its services on cellphone’s contact list and allows users to send text/audio messages to anyone who also installs the client, regardless of mobile OS and operators, meaning China Mobile or China Unicom subscribers can also enjoy the benefits of it.

According to Yang, with the momentum growth of mobile internet and smartphone industry, the communication, internet and IT industry are quickly converging while cross-platform, cross-terminal and cross-operator have now became an important trend in mobile internet area. Converged Communications that brings together all kinds of communication tools, social media, life and entertaining services to better serve mobile users has great potential. He believes that the market for China’s converged communication tool will reach RMB 20 billion (US$ 3.1 billion) in this year and the number will grow to hundreds of billions in the next five years.

On top of basic communication features, Yiliao can also used to make conference call (supports up to 30 people), video conferencing (to be provided in new version).