Tencent quietely launched its QQ International version back in January this year when we threw the question: Will QQ be seriously looking into the global market in 2009? The answer seems an obviously yes, as QQ International basically is the first English version officially launched and promoted as a Tencent product. 2009 comes to the end, and the answer is finally reveal till we walked into Tencent’s Shanghai office and chatted with the QQ International team.

Tencent does seriously spends effort on QQ International

QQ used to have some English versions, but unlike them which are simply QQ with English interface developed by the same dev team, QQ International is now a separate product and developed by a team based in Shanghai. Feature-wise, QQ International is more like a light version of QQ Chinese version. It also supports the basic instant messaging features such as group chat etc, but many bundled features such as QQShow and so on are currently removed from QQ International. But interesting enough, two major difference you can find on QQ International:

  • Featured Groups in different categories including Nightlife & Events, Business & Classifieds, Travel & Leisure, Personal & Dating, Language & Education, which actually reflects the life of foreigners in China
  • English-only information from third-parties including CityWeekend, ChinesePod, ICS etc which are popular news resources

The target users are foreigners, who live in China not really the global audience

The team leader clarified the ideas behind the QQ International. “You know how popular QQ is in China. We understand more and more foreigners come to China and our primary goal is to help them communicate with both Chinese and foreign friends, while growing their network in China . We also want to build an efficient platform providing all the information and tools one might need when living in China.”, said the team leader. “On the other hand, QQ has also been adopted widely by Chinese companies as important online Customer Service tool. We do think QQ International can help foreign companies in their business, having a better communication with their Chinese customers.”

QQ International is to be an Open Service

As we found on QQ International, ICS and CityWeekend are now promoted on the side-tab. “They have very good content which we’d love push to our foreign users so they can easily know what’s happening locally. We are also featuring dozens of groups representing foreigner’s interest groups in China. They can join those groups and connect with other foreigners who live in China with common purposes, business etc.”, the leader said, “We are happy to partner with any third-party/community with good content or useful resources and promote them through QQ International. So feel free contact us.”

The future of QQ International

The QQ International right now has over 200k users since its official launch in October 2009. When we asked about the future plan, the question was answered in a smart way. They said, “Firstly, you probably have noticed that the english-community is not the largest foreign community in China; Secondly, we will implement other popular QQ services too, but we want to emphasize that QQ International, at least for now, is not targeting the global market, but focusing on positioning itself as a major player in the foreign minds of China.”

Popular international service such as Facebook and Twitter are not available in China right now, we think Tencent clearly sends a message saying, let’s connect on QQ International. Make sense or Not? (We are looking forwards to your comments) On QQ International’s official site, the slogan says “Expand your Guanxi (Ed: Guanxi means Social Connections) in China on QQ International” which actually explains all. We’ve been told that the team was happy to organize some events to introduce this products in more detail and also wanted to hear more feedback directly from local foreigners, so please, stay tuned and you might have chance to walk into the ‘mysterious’ Tencent office.

Gang Lu

Dr. Gang Lu - Founder of TechNode. He's a Blogger, a Geek, a PhD and a Speaker, with passion in Tech, Internet and R'N'R.

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8 Comments

  1. > Popular international service such as Facebook and Twitter are not > available in China right now无语 😐 They're blocked by the government's secret Great Firewall. Just say it, please.

  2. It would be interesting to know whether QQ International filters sensitive keywords likes Tom Skype does.I as an expat also don't feel comfortable using a tool that can be read by government departments.The TOS are interesting in this regard: ” Except such causes as the laws, request of government departments with power granted by the laws or the User’s consent, Tencent will not make the User’s personal privacy information public or disclose them to a third party except Partners without the User’s consent, except the cases that the User selects the option or agrees, or there are additional stipulations regarding the publicity or use of the User’s personal privacy information between the User and Tencent as well as Partners.” I wonder what the “additional stipulations” mean.Ha, I'm actually not even allowed to discuss the TOS: “Without the prior written consent of Tencent, the User shall not provide or disclose this Agreement and the Software to any third party.”Well, the English version of the TOS isn't worth anything anyway: “5.6. The English version of this Agreement is for reference only. In the event of any discrepancies or inconsistencies between the English and Chinese versions, the Chinese version shall prevail.”

  3. While there are some less-than-crystal-clear parts to QQ intl., anyone with a brain should be able to figure it out. As far as security is concerned, who's kidding whom here? There is no security on the 'net unless you do crypto yourself end to end. Say hello to PGP. Cool little program, made a friend or two in the last month. I like it.Kenneth dot Jones at qq dot com

  4. its nice, fastest for file transfer i ever meet…im using MSN Live and YM for how many years, now i found this QQ which is the best…

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