Last Tuesday evening at the main stage hall of GMIC Beijing 2013, hundreds were in the room all eagerly anticipating arguably one of the highlights of Day 1, the dialogue session with Pony Ma, CEO and Co-founder of Tencent.
Ma started off by squashing any recent rumours that said WeChat will be implementing a charging system for its users. When asked if the telecoms will be frustrated now that WeChat has confirmed that it will not be implementing charges for usage of its app, Ma denied that possibility as there is a long term working relationship between both parties.
The host then asked if QQ, Tencent’s popular instant messenger service will completely cover Wechat. Ma elaborated that each service had certain functions that were exclusive to themselves.
Ma also highlighted the importance of having the same group or a single person being in charge of the development of an app as it will allow for the same ideas to be implemented on both platforms.
Ma went on to praise the mobile gaming department of Tencent, which was questioned by many when first suggested of its formation. As such, they decided to employ only people with a earnest learning attitude and now after 7, 8 years of hard work, Tencent’s mobile gaming department is number one in China.
“Both iOS and Android have their individual strengths and how either develops further is dependent on various factors, so it’s not possible to predict if one will surpass the other to be the mainstream in the future.”, Ma answered when asked to pick between Apple’s and Google’s operating system as a future mainstream OS.
Ma consistently mentioned Facebook during the hour-long dialogue and one important point was when he identified Facebook as the first open platform in the world. Tencent only carried out discussions about an open platform 2 years later in 2009 and at that time, the technology barrier was still high so they kept their heads down and continued preparation. Finally in 2011, Tencent implemented their own open platform.
Ma has another role in Tencent, and that is of a tester of Tencent’s very own products. He says that he puts himself in the shoes of an average user to test out the apps so as to provide a better user experience for users.
Towards the end, the host asked if WeChat is Tencent’s route to expanding globally and all but one of the eight participants onstage raised their hands. Interestingly, Ma’s opinion concurs with that of the sole guy in that he sees it as being a 50/50 opportunity because of the more intense competition provided by other similar apps abroad.
Ma concluded by highlighting the difficulty in expanding globally but will nevertheless still try his very best to push Tencent and WeChat onto the global stage.
Edited by Matt Johnson