Tencent Holdings Limited is the fourth largest Internet company after Google, Amazon and Ebay. It was founded by Huateng Ma and Zhidong Zhang in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China in the year 1998. After 16 years of developing its Internet service, in September 2013, Tencent’s market valuation rose to US$101 billion, just nine years after going public.

In Feb 1999, Tencent launched OICQ, its first instant message software. The founder, Ma and Zhang are the only two users when they first developed the program. To avoid problems because of the similarity between the name OICQ and the popular IM messenger ICQ, Tencent changed the name to QQ, which was passed on for 15 years. QQ is now the most pervasive instant message software in China. As of 20 March 2013, there are 798.2 million active QQ accounts, with a peak of 176.4 million simultaneous online QQ users. The business of Tencent spreaded from instant message to voice message, video chatting, online games, online music player and a lot more Internet services. To meet the demand of the growing mobile market, Tencent launched an app called Wechat, enabling users to use voice messages to contact each other in2011. And surely people could easily find their contacts on QQ while using this service. The large user foundation almost ensured the success of Wechat. In March 2012, 433 days after the launch of Wechat, its registered user number reached 100 million. Half a year later, it became 200 million. Four months later, the number rose to 300 million. As of Jan. 2014, the registered user number of Wechat has reached 500 million in China. The International registered user number has reached 100 million, too.

Moment, the place where Wechat users could share texts, photos, videos and content from other third parties software, are now slowly taking the place of Sina Weibo, known as Chinese Twitter, to be the place where Chinese people communicate with their friends and family.

What about the information and news? Wechat launched its new service, official account, in 2012. The official account could be managed and operated by private personals and could reach a vast number of audiences through this service. The official account is under the restriction of only being able to send out one message per day. The range of the accounts varied from technology, poetry to picture sharing and to my surprise, fortune telling. The official account makes it extremely easy for almost everyone to be a part of the “we media” and is crucial in Wechat’s way to transform from one-on-one instant message app to a media platform.



Recently Published

Key Takeaway: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Chinese travel industry, with a slow return to global flights due to the country’s struggling real estate sector. China’s largest developer, Country Garden, lost $7.1 billion in the first six months of 2023, and investors are concerned about potential debt default. Local governments heavily rely on tax […]
Key Takeaway: The average American spends $120,000 on romantic activities, leading to a significant amount of “dating debt” among millennials and Gen Z. This debt accumulation is attributed to the desire to signal status and the persuasive retail marketing of luxury as synonymous with love. Luxury brands like Gucci and Tiffany use strategic marketing tactics […]

Top Picks

Key Takeaway: The concept of “nudge theory” has gained prominence 15 years after its 2008 book, “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness.” The book, which inspired politicians like Barack Obama and David Cameron, led to the creation of government teams to incorporate nudge theory into public policy. However, the success of these nudges […]
Key Takeaways: Nanotechnology is set to revolutionize clothing, transportation, and transportation. Clothing will be tailored to individual needs, with synthesizers in closets creating clothing that fits perfectly. Nanosuits, made of 5 microns thick fabric, will cover the wearer’s body, allowing separate holes for individual hairs and making them weightless. This technology will double the amount […]


I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.


Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics