Appears Facebook will have competition in Asia.
“Even if Facebook had permission, it’s probably too late,” says Wang Xiaofeng, a technology analyst at Forrester Research. “Weixin has all the functionality of Facebook and Twitter, and Chinese have already gotten used to it.”
Weixin is the creation of Tencent, the Chinese Internet powerhouse known for its QQ instant messenger service and its popular online games. Tencent, which is publicly traded and is worth more than $100 billion on the Hong Kong exchange, is now seeking to strengthen that grip in social networking and expand into new areas, such as online payment and e-commerce.
Alibaba, China’s e-commerce goliath, has already announced plans to fight back in China, with its own newly developed messaging app, called Laiwang.
Tencent, meanwhile, is so confident of its messaging app that it is promoting Weixin overseas, particularly in Southeast Asia, where there are already tens of millions of users. The company also plans a marketing blitz in Europe and Latin America, using the name WeChat. The company declined to say whether or when it would promote the service in the United States.