Pengyou, Tencent’s social network, has launched a mobile version on iOS, Android and others operating systems and claims to already have 149 million users.
PengYou was formerly called XiaoYou, a network for school kids. However, realizing there is more money and value in white-collar workers, XiaoYou transitioned into PengYou. The problem with building a network for school kids, is that often they are accustomed to using fake names and cute cartoon pictures to represent their online identity, making it difficult to distinguish who is or isn’t real. Therefore, PengYou requires only real names and pictures before accepting members.
Two of the key features of the mobile version of PengYou is the location based service (LBS) feature and the voice chat feature. Both are designed to enhance user’s daily social life and help them better connect with each other.
The LBS feature allows members to see who of their friends is nearby to them, allowing them to meet up. Pony Ma, the head of Tencent shared a story with media sources that one day when he was shopping and later felt a little bored. He pulled out his phone, flicked on the PengYou app and discovered, to his surprise an old primary school friend he hadn’t seen for years, sitting in a nearby Starbucks.
Like many other SOLOMO apps now, the app also allows for users to communicate via voice chat messaging like Tencent Weixin which has 50 million users. It also supports group voice chat, which is like being on a group call.
With so many SOLOMO apps coming out, competition will only get tougher until consolidation starts to occur. Is Tencent your friend?