China’s Tencent aims to battle US web firms like Google, Facebook in India (indiatimes.com)

31 July 2012 23 h 07 min Comments Off

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World’s fourth largest internet firm China’s Tencent wants to battle US internet firms like Google and Facebook in India by creating locally built brands.

Tencent, whose flagship QQ messenger has 700 million users, launched its mobile chat service called WeChat in India on Thursday, to compete with the What’s App and Blackberry messenger in India, which have the largest market share on smartphones. The chat service also aims to compete with Facebook’s Timeline with its similar ‘Moments’ feature.

Tencent owns QQ.com, QQ messenger, web search SoSo.com, and a third party online payment platform called Tenpay, an equivalent of paypal.

Tencent Holdings has a market cap of $59 billion, just behind US internet firms Facebook, Amazon and Google.

Shenzhen based Tencent, says that US internet companies failed in China, as they never innovated with the local culture, or customized products for the local people.

“We believe in localization. We hired people in India through our local arm to understand the India market. US companies have not been able to match the innovativeness of local Chinese internet players,” says Dennis Hau, Head of Product Center, International Business Group at Tencent told ET in an exclusive interaction.

Tencent has also taken (an undisclosed) minority stake in Delhi based Ibibo, and launched a local version of its QQ web browser in India. Hau adds that many US internet firms try to thrust the US product across globe, which doesn’t work in China. He recounts the days when he was working for software firm in China. “The Chinese businesses wanted localization of software products. But none of the suggestions were accepted by the software firm in US.” He says that US internet players have localization in namesake in the form of translation into local language. In Thailand, Tencent has partnered with Sanook.com, a local player, which runs internet services.

Tencent claims to have over 95% of China’s internet user base as its customers, with many people having multiple QQ messenger accounts. Over the past five years, China has seen a terrific growth in the market capitalization of its local Internet firms. While Facebook and Google don’t operate in China, Yahoo has also sold off its stake in local e-commerce player Alibaba.com this year.

Edelweiss Securities Kunal Sangoi says that the Indian internet market is at a stage where China was in 2006. China dominates the world internet market with about 500 million internet users, compared to US about 245 million users, and India which has about 121 million users, in third place.

Source: indiatimes.com (26/07/2012)

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