QZone tops WeChat as China’s Biggest Open-Platform Social Network

Qzone hit 1 billion updates on New Year’s Day.

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Created in 2005 by Tencent, QZone is China’s most popular social site. Qzone gradually transformed from a personal space, where users customize blogs, keep diaries, send photos, watch videos and listen to music, to China’s biggest social network with more than 625 million active users.

Tencent dominates Internet and mobile in China. Its instant messaging, gaming and online shopping service, QQ, had 798.2 million active accounts in March 2013. The company recently announced that its Cloud 2.0 service has reached 300 million users, making it the country’s most-used cloud storage service.

Its mobile chat service WeChat has helped bolster Tencent’s continued expansion into smartphone services. WeChat app users can “shake” their smartphone and find other users anywhere in the world who are shaking their phones at the same time. WeChat accumulated over 300 million users in little more than two years and has broken into the international market, doubling its overseas users between May and Sept. 2013.

In growing its international user base, Tencent has brought on brand ambassadors, such as NBA star LeBron James, soccer star Lionel Messi and Bollywood actors Varun Dhawan and Parineeti Chopra, who users can follow and interact with.

QZone China WeChat

This month, in the battle among the country’s Internet firms to link online content with offline services, Tencent Holdings Ltd bought 20 percent of Dianping, the country’s largest restaurant review and business listing site — similar to Yelp and group-buying site Groupon in the U.S. Dianping’s merchant information, consumer reviews, online restaurant reservation, take out ordering and other services will be linked to Tencent’s social communications platforms.

QZone is approaching Facebook’s legendary status as the world’s primary social media tool, and China itself is catching up to America’s super power status. According to Forbes:

A poll by GfK North America and The Street.com, 59 percent of Americans rightly see the United States as the world’s dominant economic power, and 43 percent of those polled believe it will retain so by the end of the decade.  Those who think the U.S. will no longer be No. 1 include 36 percent of the population, all saying China will claim that position as soon as 2020.

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