Daily Digital Pulse of China: Tencent, WeChat, Alibaba
Tencent Invests in Mobile E-Commerce Site for Low-Income Phone Users
Maimaibao, a mobile commerce retailer that caters specifically to low-income mobile phone users, has received an undisclosed amount of funding led by Tencent. How does Maimaibao specifically target such users? It does so through implementation of a WAP mobile website, which is accessible from Symbian and feature phones on 2G networks. A majority of Chinese people who use such phones generally live and work in places that don’t offer access to PCs and are people who cannot afford to buy more advanced smartphones. What is WAP? It is a simplified protocol that was used on some phones before HTML was supported, and is still occasionally used for simple tasks such as email, reading news, downloading music, and checking stock prices. Not many websites actually support WAP these days, however. Maimaibao was one of the pioneering Chinese companies to enter the mobile commerce industry, and its focus is still on WAP. This new round of funding will be used to create a new budget smartphone under the brand Big Q, which already has three available models, all of which drive traffic to Maimaibao’s store. Maimaibo sold 200,000 of the phones last year, and is working towards selling a million this year. Maimaibao also saw a turnover of 2 billion RMB last year, and reported and average order of 300 RMB.
Source: Tech In Asia
WeChat Reaches 355 million Monthly Active Users in Q4 2013
WeChat’s monthly active user numbers have soared to 355 million, a 121% year-over-year increase and 6% quarter-over-quarter. Typically, most other mobile services count simply logging in as an active action, whereas Tencent only counts either sending one message or making a transaction as one.
Source: Tech Node
Alibaba to expand global footprint
The battle for mobile messaging applications rages on. Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba invested heavily in WhatsApp killer Tango. With an investment of $215 million the 4-year old California-based messaging application Tango is valued at about $1 billion. Tango has over 200 million registered users spread across the US, Europe, The Middle East and Asia. Not only does the move help Alibaba pave its way to an upcoming and possibly the largest public offering of a Chinese company in the US, but also strengthens the company’s position in mobile. This expertise might come in handy, as last year Alibaba launched its messenger Laiwang to compete with Tencent’s WeChat. Just like WeChat, Tango is more than just a messenger. It’s also a content platform with video, social and gaming. Therefor Tango could contribute to further overseas expansion of Alibaba’s online commerce business.