With 798 million monthly active users, Tencent’s (HKG:0700) QQ instant messenger is far and away China’s most-used social network. Some of its users are overseas, and today Tencent is hoping to boost that number by launching QQ Chat for Facebook.
In addition to letting users chat via QQ, the new QQ Chat for Facebook is available in six languages and incorporates built-in translation to/from Chinese, Spanish, and Japanese. It’s not the first overseas venture for QQ and its iconic penguin mascot, as Tencent released a business-oriented QQ International app for Windows and Mac back in 2010. But this new Facebook web app seems more focused on fun, cross-border socializing. Mel Yin, head of IM at Tencent, says that “this is the first platform-independent QQ client for English speakers” thanks to it being a web app.
According to the new QQ Chat for Facebook app, 4,400 people have already used it, which sounds like a fairly good start. With Facebook blocked in China, China’s hundreds of millions of QQ users will have to stick with their desktop or mobile apps – but at least some of their foreign friends might be more keen to jump aboard now.
In the age of mobile-only messaging apps, there’s surely not much demand for old style IM services. But Tencent has both bases covered, and has over 300 million users on its Whatsapp-esque WeChat app. A good number of those are outside of China as well, with good traction in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and Tencent is hoping that WeChat can be China’s first-ever global social media success story.