Tencent, the dominating instant-messaging service in China, rolls out QQ Chat for Facebook, a Web-based cross-platform chat tool developed on top of Facebook. Now Tencent’s QQ users can chat directly with friends on Facebook, and also reach their QQ or WeChat contacts within the application.

It’s free of charge from the Facebook App Center and comes with built-in live chat translations to Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and Japanese.

As Facebook is inaccessible in mainland China, it’s, in fact, hard to imagine average QQ users, mainly Chinese, could manage to visit Facebook and use the application. Also, the chances that people living in mainland China who manage to visit Facebook would like to install such an application to reach QQ contacts cannot be big. Guess only overseas Chinese would love it? But they are a small group. If the app gets popular, would it be because that it is way better than Facebook’s, or because something like users all around the world can reach WeChat friends there?

WeChat, or Weixin, a mobile messaging app by Tencent whose registered users just surpassed 300 mn, rolled out the English version in early 2011, one year after the launch of its first Chinese version, and has gained much traction in Southeast Asia.

Tencent launched QQ International, an English version of QQ IM for PCs, in late 2010. It turned out that didn’t help the product go international. WeChat is expected to be the first product of Tencent’s that will have a meaningful global presence. Recently the company set up an office in the U.S. to promote it there.  WeChat also integrates with Facebook that users can import Facebook contacts into it.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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