A few months ago a totally redesigned and improved version of WebQQ was released and so far we've gotten lots of positive feedback from our users. Many people like the new concept and design. WebQQ2 now looks like the regular QQ client, but on a virtual desktop. I believe WebQQ2 is one of the most innovative Web IM products out there! You can even "install" many other applications and the team is hard at work at improving things even further.
The original WebQQ1 version was launched in early 2009 and for the first time it made it possible to use QQ on environments where we had no native client. WebQQ2 improves on this concept and adds lots of cool new stuff such as real application support and advanced desktop features.
The whole GroupBuy phenomenon has not passed China unnoticed and a little bit more than one month ago Tencent launched a new product in this market: QQ TuanGou (QQ团购). TuanGou literally means "groupbuy", but I will just refer to it as Tuan. Tuan has seperate discounts for various cities in China: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and many others. We have already saved a few hundred RMB by using the group buys and it has been a very pleasant experience for us so far.
Tencent today reached an important milestone! At 19:52:58 the 5th of March 2010 there were more than 100 million users simultaneously online! The im.qq.com has just been updated (by the guy in the aisle next to me) to celebrate this historical event in the history of Tencent. There was also a small celebration downstairs in the new office.
Tencent has announced that it will setup a team of more than 50 people to cover the 2011 Summer Universiade . Shenzhen is of course one of the most important companies in Shenzhen and it already has experience with the Olympic Games of 2008 and this year it will also cover the World Expo in Shanghai. The universiade is one of the first really big events in Shenzhen, at least as far as I can remember. I'm sure it will be a big success though. The stadiums are already well under way, with more than a year to go!
Tencent will set up a Web site for the Universiade providing
the latest information on the games with its multi-media platform which
includes a news portal, mobile phone, QQ zone and video Web site,
Tencent chairman Ma Huateng said. “The Internet provides us with
a platform without time or space limitations and people can access
Universiade information even if they cannot come to Shenzhen in 2011,”
Tencent launched it's first ever advertisement on national Chinese television at the end of december 2009. On this page you can see the advertisement (in Chinese of course). It focusses on QQ and how it brings people together, no matter how far apart they are.
you should see a flash movie with Tencent's commercial above (it might take a couple of seconds to load...)
I'm QQ is Tencent's first real English website to introduce QQ to English speakers. The English QQ versions were always hidden on a Chinese page and this made it very difficult for foreigners to get started. To help people get started, I created a personal page with signup information and last year an English page was launched to promote Tencent Messenger 2008. With I'mQQ.com this is taken another big step forward. It's now easier than ever for foreigners to register a QQ account and to find out what QQ is all about.
Qzone is one of Tencent's most important products and used by over a 100 million people. Qzone is a blog, where users can totally customize their blog. Tencent officially describes it as 'next-generation personalized multimedia space'. It consists of three parts: self-expression, sharing and interaction. Qzone could also be compared to Facebook in this respect, because of its focus on social interaction and customizability. Several Chinese celebrities have their own Qzone pages and it seems like quite a trendy product. It also integrates nicely with other QQ products. For example in QQ IM client you can see when one of your friends updated their Qzone.
Qzone is possibly the largest social network in the world, but these kind of claims always depend on your definition of largest. To put some things in comparison: Qzone recorded 200 million unique account logins per month by January 31 2009, while Facebook's monthly record is 175 million. Qzone averages about 60
million photo uploads and 9.5 million blog entries daily. It makes you wonder why Facebook gets so much attention ;)
Update July 2009: Qzone has made a radical change to their 'frontpage'. The 'portal' has been removed completely and now just features a login window; more like Facebook style. Qzone is also working hard on bringing more applications. One very popular application is the farming game:
Screenshot from the popular Qzone farming game. On the left you see the application this user has installed, on the right the QQ friends list inside the farming game.
Objective of the game: grow vegetables and steal vegetables from your friends :)
Chinese only, although friends could of course write stories in English.
Qzone only used to work in IE browsers. Qzone makes heavy use of
Qzone and this explains why you don't see Qzone pages in your
Google/Baidu search results as much as they ought to. Recently some
attempts have been made to improvements in these areas, so there might
be light at the end of the tunnel after all :) The usage numbers above will give you some indication about the technical challenges behind Qzone.
Update July 2009: I am now able to use Qzone in other browsers such as Firefox and Chrome. Not everything works perfectly, but it certainly is a huge step forward.
Tencent's mobile phone website 3G.QQ.COM is a free WAP site that can be
visited by users at any time. The website offers users QQ Chat, as well
as access to real-time news and information. For mobile phones,
3G.QQ.COM offers practical tools, such as hard disk, album, weather
inquiry and search engine. 3G.QQ.COM also offers mobile phone users
multiple entertainment solutions, such as Qzone, library, community and
ring tones download, as well as games. By sending the message "3G" to
the phone number 1700, users get instant access to the WAP site.
Chinese only. I don't even have a mobile phone, so I never had the opportunity to try it out, but I guess this is not a very appealing service for foreigners with limited knowledge of Chinese: too many obstacles. Seems to work with China Mobile only?
QQ 2009 English is the newest English version of QQ (beta is available as of January 2009 via the new www.imqq.com English portal). It shares the same platform as Tencent Messenger 2008 and the Chinese versions of QQ. Important difference with TM2008 is that QQ2009 offers more functionality. Basic functions include of course chatting with friends or with groups of people, saving chat history, sending smileys etc etc. The UI design has been improved and QQ is now much simpler to use than before.
Tabs from left to right: chat with friends (organized in categories), chat with groups and your most recent conversations.
Main QQ2009 chat window. On the right you see customizable user pictures, this is very hot in China. You can pick a handsome guy or cute girl and change the haistyle, clothes etc. Some are free I believe, but for better clothes you need to pay Q-coins .
QQ2009 now also supports skins. You can make QQ look any way you like it
QQ2009 is totally in English, but some additional services are Chinese-only (for example QZone, online storage etc). If you just want to chat with friends, then this version is very good. If you need any help to get a QQ account, visit my help page . Thanks to the new English www.imqq.com page, it's now easier than ever to get started with QQ2009.
QQLive could be described as watching TV online, but it offers both live online video and on-demand video. I have not used it much in the past, but during the Olympic Games in China QQLive is very popular. I have seen many people gather around a pc and watch live broadcasts from CCTV via QQLive. QQLive runs as a windows program and is about 2.9MB big, the installer can be downloaded here . The quality is quite good and there is also a lot of content.
Chinese only. For some videos, it doesn't really matter. The UI of QQLive is quite intuitive, so even people who don't speak Chinese can start to watch 'TV' by just a few clicks. You need to sign in with your QQ username and password.
Screenshot QQlive during the Beijing Olympic games
QQ for Linux was released 31st of July 2008 and it is the first time that Tencent has supported Linux officially with a QQ client. In early January 2009 a beta version was released that seems to support all the basic features. There are now 4 versions available for download (about 5MB):
Deb version for example for Ubuntu 7.10
RPM for SuSE 9 and Fedora Core7
.tar.gz version for other distributions
Lemote loonux 1.0.6 running on loongson 2F (the Chinese-made CPU)
QQ Groups are primarily a feature of the QQ IM client. You can categorize your friends, but you can also group your friends. These two features seem similar (you bundle friends), but groups are much more advanced. Categorized friends are just something to easily find a particular person. Groups allow you to talk to several people at once though. Each group has a group owner, optionally several administrators and then regular group members. Groups are, at the moment, primarily an IM feature, with limited and aging website. We are working hard to improve the existing website though.
There is a very basic English version of QQ Groups: http://igroup.qq.com/en/ you first need to login with your QQ account and then you can manage your QQ groups, like change the name etc. The Chinese version of groups is more advanced, but is quite old.
Update December 2008: The new groups website is located here: http://qun.qq.com/, but at the moment you can only manage your groups (create a new group, add members, change the name etc). More features will come in the near future!
Real-Time eXchange, or better known as RTX , is one of the best tools Tencent has for the business/corporate market, though largely unknown, especially in the West. RTX is a IM chat program that is based on the company level. At Tencent's officices everybody uses RTX to communicate with their colleagues. It works just like QQ or MSN or AOL, but with some cool features that make it very suitable for large organizations where lots of people use computers.
RTX organizes all your colleagues in the company according to the company structure. For example if there is a team working on a particular product, a group will be automatically created for them.
You can also form your own groups, for example when you are working on a joint project.
Screenshot feature of RTX is extremely convenient, as it allows you to quickly copy part of your screen to your colleagues. For example to help debugging or just to share some interesting news.
Directly lookup seat-number, phone-number and other personal information
Directly call colleagues just by pressing a button in RTX or send SMS messages!
Get popup notices about important announcements.
Screenshot of Chinese RTX
Instant Communication: quickly and easily send and receive instant messages. You can change the text fonts in different colors for a personalized display.
Status display: Show contact information: online, busy, offline etc
Organizational structure: directory tree of the multi-level organizational structure of enterprises provides clear understanding of the organization. It is updated when the structure of the organization changes.
Contact Group: contacts can be grouped. For example the most frequent contacts or contacts from in the same division.
Contacts: Contact information outside the company management, can be a division, send text messages, make a call.
Quick Search field: quickly look up someone by name or other criteria
Notify: to provide broadcasting news and information system to inform users of important information.
Historical information:Chatlog etc.
Although the main website from RTX is in Chinese and the newest version is also in Chinese, they actually have an English version of RTX. I use this version at a daily basis and it works great! I know Tencent has sold RTX to several other companies, but I think they should also sell this product outside China. It's simply a great product which works good in English and can easily be deployed.
QQMail is Tencent's free email service in the style of Gmail. By default your email adress is just your qqnumber, for example
but you can bind any name you like to it such as
Besides the spacious inbox (1GB), SMTP and POP3 support and other features, QQMail also offers some unique features. For example you can pick a skin for the website, there is integration with QQ (a popup when you get mail), sending email to all of your QQ friends and so on. QQMail also has a mobile website mail.3g.qq.com . Another advantage of QQMail is that it is very fast in China, certainly rivaling GMail and faster than Hotmail.
Chinese only, but the basic features like sending and receiving mail are quite easy to use. I find GMail easier to use though (obviously because of the language, but also the UI seems a bit more clean) and it's fast enough. Perhaps if they make an English version someday, I will try it again.
QQLabs is a site to inform users about upcoming products from the Tencent laboratories, as well as an opportunity for users to offer feedback about Tencent products. It was launched late 2006 and since then the labs page has seen a series of product announcements. It offers users the opportunity to respond to these announcements (although all comments first have to be approved). So far Qbar, QQVideo, Taotao, Shuqian and many other products have used the site.
Chinese articles, with the exception of one article written by me. It is well worth to read through the product announcements though to stay up-to-date on what Tencent is doing. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed, so you don't have to check the site manually everytime.
QQ Games for AIM is a site that allows you to play some cool casual games with your AIM. It is targetted at the North American market and as such is available only in English. QQGames is produced in part by programmers in America and was launched in 2007. The website serves as a platform to download the AIM plugin and to see other players. At the moment it offers six games and more games are added periodically.
Although there has been an English version of QQ for a long time, QQ Games for AIM could be seen as the first serious attempt to enter the American market for Tencent. I am sure the developments of this site and the experience obtained with it's operation will be important for the future strategy of Tencent. I imagine it is very difficult to enter the already saturated IM markets overseas, so starting with this games site makes sense. It will make people more aware of the QQ brand.
English only. There is also a Chinese QQ Games in China, which uses the games.qq.com domain, but is not related to QQ Games for AIM. If you are using AIM, I suggest you try QQ Games for AIM. In China QQ already has several successful casual games and I hope they can bring those games to a wider audience.
QBar (Q吧) is a site that I have personally not used often, mainly because it is purely in Chinese. From what I understand, it allows users to start their own forums and topics. Compared to traditional forums, there is more freedom for the user. I think the main competition for QBar would be other forums and in particular Tianya. The website seems quite popular in China. Navigation is for me personally a big challenge because it uses several different UI styles.
Only in Chinese. Since it is sort of a forum, most of the content also consists of Chinese text. This makes it practically impossible for non-Chinese to use and there is also no real need. There are enough English forums available.
Shuqian (QQBookmark) is a social bookmaring site similar to Del.icio.us. It allows you to save your bookmarks online and then access them from anywhere in the world. This can be very convenient if you want to access your bookmarks from both at work and at home. I use this a lot to keep track of new developments. Sometimes you just dont have time to read all the news and it is very convenient to bookmark them so you can read the sites later at home. The site was launched in early 2007 and is early 2008 still in (public) beta and undergoing active development.
Shuqian is supported by Tencent via several plugins and also the Tencent Toolbar offers a convenient way to save bookmarks to Shuqian. There are not many other big bookmarking sites and it appears that Shuqian is the biggest (or one of the biggest) in China. Main competitor would be Delicious, but that site lacks the amount of Chinese content to be a direct competitor.
By default the language is Chinese (Simplified), but via the setting menu on the top, you can also select English language! Even when you use the Chinese UI, it is still easy to use; especially when you use one of the browser plugins.
Taotao is a product from Tencent that uses its own website taotao.com . Taotao could be described as a micro-blogging site, just like Twitter. Contrary to Twitter, Taotao does not seem to suffer from the downtime that Twitter has become famous for. There also seems to be little competition in China in this field and taotao is therefore turning into a very popular product of Tencent. For example during the snow storms in the beginning of 2008, several people used Taotao to send reports.
Only available in Chinese, but posting messages is very easy. Just type a message and you are done. Taotao is as much about reading others messages as it is about writing your own messages though. To read messages from other people, which can be very interesting, you of course need to learn Chinese.
QQVideo is a video sharing site, similar to Youtube, but with many unique features. People can use their QQ account to signin and then start sharing videos, either by uploading or by recording via their webcam. Users can share videos with their QQ friends, post videos to their blog (for example QZone) and invite people via QQ IM to view videos (your IM contacts are loaded into the website). When you upload a video, you have to select a category and you can enter a short description and some tags. This helps other people find your video easier.
QQVideo contain s many videos (sorry, I dont know how many) and seems to grow at a healthy rate. It's main competitors are Youtube, Tudou and Youku. Tencent has many ways to integrate QQVideo with other products, which should give QQVideo enough momentum to become number 1 in China.
Only available in Chinese, but the UI is pretty straightforward so you can just use this site without any major problems. Simply click on a video and enjoy!