Tencent has been in Indonesia for about eight months. And during our interview at Startup Asia Jakarta last month, Sean Zhang of Tencent revealed that Indonesia is a key market for the Chinese company — so much so that it has dedicated resources to build a localized messenger app called Qute for Indonesia.
In brief, Qute is a messaging app that works across low and high-end mobile phones. Messages sent out via SMS from low-end phones are received as data messages on smartphones. It works vice-versa from smartphones to feature phones.
Earlier this month, Qute launched silently with zero media attention. Tencent has been pretty tight-lipped on media requests so we have a tough time understanding its strategy. I had heard from various sources in the Indonesian industry that Tencent has been very actively working with various distributing partners. But no one wanted to reveal the nuts and bolts of the partnerships.
A source close to Tencent Indonesia did, however, reveal some fascinating figures about Tencent’s performance in Indonesia. To date, Qute has generated more than one million downloads in the country in about one month since it launched. For the QQ international browser, Tencent has about three million users in Indonesia. Across the world, there are about 20 million international users.
The numbers are startling because I can’t remember any other companies having such fast-growing figures in Indonesia. Maybe Facebook and Twitter matched the growth speed. Of course, we don’t want to put in too early a judgment for Qute. It is still in the early days and it may or may not succeed in Indonesia. But one thing is for sure, the numbers are looking good for now.