While everyone’s talking about WeChat, it’s easy to forget that Tencent makes another social network that’s even more popular. It’s called QQ. Today Tencent (HKG:0700) revealed that QQ’s users sent a total of 13.6 billion QQ chats on the instant messaging service during Chinese New Year’s Eve, the busiest and most raucously celebrated day of the year.
At the high tide of the messaging flood there were 32.7 million QQ messages sent in one minute. That dwarfs the number of friendly missives fired on the same day on WeChat, which reached 10 million in one minute.
Tencent revealed its numbers today on Sina Weibo, and also produced a Chinese-language infographic containing more data. In addition to mostly trivial details about geography, it shows that 16 million users made a video call on QQ during Chinese New Year’s Eve.
While 13.6 billion is an impressive number – it’s as if everyone in China sent 10 QQ messages each in one day – it hasn’t surpassed the monumental 27 billion messages processed in one day by WhatsApp, the mobile-only messaging app that’s hugely popular around many parts of the world (though not mainland China).
Party like it’s 1999
While QQ is thought of as an old-style IM – like the now-defunct MSN or the long-forgotten Yahoo Messenger – it has evolved a lot since its launch in 1999. Indeed, the current version of QQ – especially its slick mobile apps – are on a par with Skype, and it even overlaps with a lot of WeChat features. QQ is backed up by QZone, which is a broader social network a bit like Facebook mashed with MSN’s profile pages, if you even remember those.
As we saw in Tencent’s most recent earnings report, QQ has a whopping 815.6 million monthly active user accounts, compared to the 272 million active on WeChat. Though QQ’s growth has flatlined, it’s still China’s top social network and remains Tencent’s cash-cow as far as social is concerned.
(Editing by Josh Horwitz)