It is estimated that up to 5 billion yuan (more than $800 mn) will go to third-party developers by the end of this year, Peter Zheng, vice president of Tencent, disclosed on stage at TechCrunch Shanghai. He claims the open platform Tencent operates is the largest in China that has over 400,000 registered apps and 800, 000 developers on the platform. 90% of paying apps have received revenues.

Tencent has been notorious for copying Internet products or features. The company broke silence not very long ago and started touting innovations the company had created. According to Mr. Zheng, Tencent has filed over 7500 patents in China and has been granted some 1250 patents outside the country.

QQ Farm, a game developed by Tencent in 2009, was a clone of Happy Farm which was developed by a Shanghai-based team in 2008. But Tencent did it differently that, instead of following the original which was for users to mange virtual farms, changed it into a social game with features for users to interact with their QQ IM contacts; for instance, your QQ friends could steal fruits in your farm when you didn’t manage to harvest them in time. The mechanism largely boosted user activity that the game had 320 million monthly active users at peak. By leverage the high user activity, the company made tons of money from virtual item sales. Whilst Happy Farm gradually lost traction. Renren, the Chinese social network known as a Facebook clone, decided to remove it earlier this year.

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Tracey Xiang

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