At Mobile World Congress in Shanghai last week, Tencent showcased how it wants to build a new paradigm of trust by ingesting the immense amount of social data generated from its ecosystem of products into its search engine.

“From the minute you wake up,” says Kiki Fan, GM of Planning & Implementation Department at Tencent, “we have Tencent News for you, the number one news site in China; social apps like QQ and WeChat, also dominating China;  music streaming services like QQ Music and KuGou, which make up 60% of market share; Tencent Video, the number one streaming platform equivalent to Netflix; not to mention the many brothers we have like Dianping, Didi and China’s number two e-commerce, JD.”

The list is impressive but also alarming; Tencent has gotten more aggressive in adopting a “walled garden” strategy, from introducing multi-functional mini-programs within WeChat to buying stakes in some of the world’s biggest game publishers. The strategy has been successful: Tencent now captures 60% of all eyeball time from China’s internet users, says Fan. On top of that, the internet juggernaut has added yet another feature to lock people into its proprietary environment: WeChat Search.

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Rita Liao

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.