Mobile QQ, which is believed to have been cannibalized by WeChat, just released an update with new features including an emoticon market, colorful message bubbles and theme designs. It’s not long after a major update was released that made Mobile QQ users so angry at its becoming a WeChat clone.
N0w it has an emoticon market, which, as you may know, made $17 million in Q1 2013 for mobile messaging app Line. Users and critics seems happy this time with the me-too service. Some even concluded that the new version is “very QQ”. Also, the functions that were removed in the last version have been restored.
Emoticon isn’t new to Tencent and QQ users. Users of PC-based QQ IM have been sending to each other emoticons, all for free, for over a decade. QQ Show, which offers virtual goods for avatar items, was one of the first revenue sources for Tencent.
Now all the emoticons on Mobile QQ are for free. It’s unknown whether they’d roll out premium ones. Momo, a newly emerging location-based social app, started selling emoticons recently.
Pony Ma, co-founder and CEO of Tencent, tried to convince the audience at 2013 GMIC that there wasn’t cannibalization between Mobile QQ and WeChat, saying demographics are different. Friends’ updates on Q-zone, Tencent’s Facebook-like social network, and some services are only available on Mobile QQ, and a large number of feature phone users or smartphone users who are still on 2G-2.5G networks can only access QQ friends and services through Mobile QQ. WeChat is believed that has gained users who didn’t use QQ IM and that Tencent always wanted to.
In early days QQ IM was seen as a tool for the young what a group of users Tencent did monetize through gaming, virtual sales and subscription-based features. If the colorful new Mobile QQ (see above) are welcome with existing Mobile QQ users, it seems mobile gaming and virtual sales are more realistic here than on WeChat. Isn’t it?