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.