The WeChat app. (File photo/CFP)
Chinese internet and mobile phone company Tencent is preparing to introduce its mobile text and voice message service WeChat to Western countries, our sister paper Want Daily has quoted CEO Ma Huateng as saying.
The company set up an office in the United States in February to handle the development of the chat service for local users, hoping to grab a share of the market by US game developers to promote its product and adjust it to accommodate Western users' habits. The office is seen by many as the first step in internationalizing the company.
WeChat was developed in January 2011 and is a chat service which can send pictures, text and voice messages to many people at the same time. It is similar to WhatsApp and Line, developed by US and Japanese companies respectively. The program has attracted over 300 million users, helping Tencent claim the title of the largest internet company in China by value at US$64 billion.
The design of the program targeted global users and the app was given an English name for the convenience of an international user base.
Chinese companies like Huawei, a networking and telecommunications equipment provider, have successfully expanded onto the world stage but the path of the nation's internet companies has been much slower, said Ma.
The export of internet services is much harder because the products are similar to existing US software, said Ma, who added that expanding demand for internet services has given China an opportunity to export its technology to the world.
Ma Huateng 馬化騰