China Telecom (HK:00728) and NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES) jointly launched the long-awaited mobile messaging app, named EasyChat (Yixin in Chinese). Aiming at WeChat, the app is more than a WeChat clone.
Apart from what WeChat can do, EasyChat supports sending voice messages to mobile or fixed-line numbers for free. Tencent’s WeChat previously partnered with China Unicom that rolled out WeChat Wo, a custom SIM card. China Telecom goes even farther as the feature must have impact on its existing revenue generators, text messages and calls. China Telecom and NetEase established EasyChat Technology, with the former controlling 73% of the company.
Email and cloud music services provided by NetEase are integrated in it.
Users who registered EasyChat accounts will get 300M free data and those send more than five messages per month on EasyChat can get 60M data in the following month. Both of the free data plans are not restricted for EasyChat usage. In addition, EasyChat reportedly will provide free data service to e-surfing subscribers from Jan. 2014.
In order to avoid competition, EasyChat will zero in on personal instant messenger market and Yiliao, a similar service offered by China Telecom, will focus on government and enterprise users.