Tencent-owned QQ, one of China’s first social networking and messaging services, will shut down the web version of its platform next year.
From Jan. 1, QQ users will be required to utilize the platform’s mobile and desktop apps to communicate. WebQQ will no longer operate. The company said the move comes as a result of the restructuring of its businesses. Users are requested to download one of QQ’s apps.
However, a source from the company told Beijing News that the closure is due to the end of the product’s lifecycle. “It does not have many users anymore,” the employee said.
Tencent refused to comment on the closure.
QQ’s user base has shown signs of shrinking since 2017, when its monthly active users (MAUs) decreased by 1.9%, in the first quarter. This was followed by further declines during the second quarter. The company continued to hemorrhage users this year. Its latest financial results show that its MAUs fell to 803 million, down 4.8% compared to the same time last year.
WebQQ came online in September 2009 to provide access to users who were unable to log in on desktop devices or on mobile phones, including people using public computers.
The company later released an update called SmartQQ, in which all services but messaging were removed.
In September, Tencent announced that it would be restructuring to counter challenges to its consumer-facing businesses. The company plans to increase its focus on enterprises by establishing new business divisions while investing heavily in cloud computing.
Tencent also runs WeChat, China’s most popular messaging platform. The service allows everything from booking train tickets to making payments at supermarkets. In November, WeChat claimed to have 1.08 billion monthly active users.