Comsenz founder and CEO Kevin Dai, who presented at the Collide: Powering China Cloud Conference by TechNode, shared with me his viewpoints on open social networking, his thoughts on community product refinement and his insights into the future integration and cooperation between Comsenz products and Tencent services. The latter acquired Comsenz, the leading Chinese community platform vendor which owns Discuz! the most popular BBS software around the world. (ref, Chinese BBS – the Undiscovered Phenomenon)

Combination of the giants

Discuz! claims over 1.4 million adopters while 70% of the Top 1500 Alexa Chinese sites are currently running on Discuz! solutions. Being the largest BBS software vendor in the world with huge user base, there’s lots of possibilities and opportunities regarding its alliance with Tencent, which also claims tremendous amount of users. In its FY11 Q1 conference call, Tencent president Martin Lau revealed that Tencent Pengyou (a Tencent approach to social networking) boasts over 100 million active users and 259 third-party apps, and the number is still growing drastically.

It seems to Dai that owning an abundant pipeline makes Tencent a matrix company, which offers considerable potential for both to amplify their creative portfolios, user experience and visions through comprehensive integration. So some of Comsenz’s products are going to be closely integrated with Tencent services. So far Tencent has plunged into social networks, ecommerce, life services, local business, online payment, group buying and so on. There are a number of opportunities for both to combine their strengths.
For instance, local websites which adopted Discuz! solution can extend its tentacles through integration with other Tencent services, such as local business recommendation, group buying deals etc.

Tencent accounts for 10% of Chinese internet traffic

According to Dai, Tencent accounts for about 10% of Chinese internet traffic, suggesting the company’s remarkable capacity in attracting users. It’s no surprise since virtually every one in China has an QQ account which one can use for online chatting. It’s like your online ID, Dai said. After the acquisition, QQ Connect which is aggressively promoted and broadly adopted by many 3rd websites becomes Dai’s main focus. It’s just like how Facebook Connect works, any sites equipped with QQ Connect can be logged in using QQ account, thus spare users the hassle of registering accounts for every websites.

Tencent’s approach to cloud computing

From Dai’s point of view, Tencent is a technology-driven company with enormous online products and services. There’re so many issues to be solved for the Chinese online giant. And in the process of solving such problems, some solutions are proven to be the best practice for those itches and afterwards opened to other internal organizations or even outsiders.

For example, Discuz! is webmaster’s NO.1 choice for online forum. But what bothers them most is the spam control issue. One cannot carefully screening every post before publishing them, that’s when Tencent cloud screening system comes to rescue. The company has devised an intelligent automatic spam scrutinizing service to reduce webmaster’s burden. And such initiative has now been used in lots of Tencent products.

Tencent Analytics, another excellent traffic analyzing system which was only used internally by Tencent subsidiaries before, is now tailored and equipped on Discuz! BBS software. Webmasters could get the most out of its statistics and refine their websites.

Also, Comsenz products’s search engine is now powered by Soso (Tencent’s very own search engine) cloud-based full-text search solutions, which is a huge boost compared to its original search engine in terms of speed, recall ratio and precision ratio.

Comsenz released the brand-new Discuz!X 2 at the Webmaster’s Conference two weeks ago, with QQ Connect and many other cloud computing features built-in, this will consolidate its leading position in the market.

Ben Jiang

Listener of startups, writer on tech. Maker of things, dreamer by choice.

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