A company in expansion
The story of American instant messaging is one of fragmentation: AOL lost its grip, Gmail and Facebook gained ground, that was that. But in China, IM portal Tencent dominates. It has expanded to games, social networking, apps, and an open platform to encourage a Western-style app ecosystem. It’s now pushing West, entering Apple’s App Store and buying California-based Riot Games. It makes $1 billion a quarter, much of it through virtual-goods sales, and is now the world’s third-largest publicly traded Internet company. Jealous yet, AOL?
8th most innovative company
Tencent, Chinese company from Shenzhen, is the 8th most innovative company, scored by the FastCompany in 2012. Founded in November, 1998, Tencent has grown into one of China’s largest and most used Internet service portal. Since its establishment over the last decade, Tencent has maintained steady growth under its user-oriented operating strategies.
Presently, Tencent is providing value-added Internet, mobile and telecom services and online advertising under the strategic goal of providing users with “one-stop online lifestyle services”. Tencent’s leading Internet platforms in China – QQ (QQ Instant Messenger), QQ.com, QQ Games, Qzone, 3g.QQ.com, SoSo, PaiPai and Tenpay – have brought together China’s largest Internet community, to meet the various needs of Internet users including communication, information, entertainment, e-commerce and others.
Copycat in gaming?
Now, even a die-hard Tencent fan might question why releasing China remakes of years-old franchises really qualifies as innovative, and China’s gaming community has been debating Tencent’s innovative tendencies — or lack thereof — ever since. The debate is the subject of Netease Games’ latest Dispute feature, which means that before we go any further I have to remind you: Netease competes with Tencent in the gaming space, so the Netease games editorial staff isn’t really coming from a position of neutrality here. But many gamers really do see Tencent as a copycat; when I searched for relevant posts on Weibo one of the first ones I found was about Tencent copying animation and sounds from the Japanese anime show Naruto for a QQ game.
In Dispute’s usual dueling essays format, Chinese gaming journalist Chang Kong defended Tencent as being innovative, saying that the company really did deserve the title for having brought together 300 million gamers. Chang’s opponent, an anonymous marketing strategist in the games industry, disagreed, arguing that most of Tencent’s own games were highly derivative, and pointing out that its most successful games were virtually all developed by other companies with Tencent merely serving as the publisher.
Most innovative social media company
China’s Tencent is the world’s most innovative social media company, ahead of Pinterest and Buzzfeed, according to Fast Company. Tencent gets the nod largely because the success of its WeChat suite of communications apps which have attracted 3 million Chinese users. “Tencent’s aggressive international rollout – rare for a Chinese company – has added millions of expats who can now communicate with folks back home, increasing its popularity. In America, WeChat is a top 20 free social networking app in Apple’s App Store,” says Fast Company.