Tencent President on WeChat Expansion: “Made In China, For The World”
During the MNC – Tencent press event earlier today announcing their joint venture, Tencent is putting a big bet into the growing internet market that is Indonesia and partners with MNC Group as well as Hillhouse Capital. DailySocial got to sit down with Tencent’s President Martin Lau for a short chat about Tencent’s move to Indonesian market.
As one of the biggest internet company in the world, Tencent has reached to almost every big internet market in Asia including Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, India among others. Indonesia is definitely an interesting market for Tencent, Lau said, but more specifically Tencent Indonesia’s growing economy and staggering mobile internet consumer growth is more than enough to get Tencent to focus more in to the long-forgotten market.
Lau claims that this partnership is only the beginning for Tencent’s operations in Indonesia, and for this first wave Tencent is bringing their mobile social networking platform, WeChat. With 90% of its users based in China, Tencent has been expanding to other markets in South East Asia to get people use WeChat. “Like much of our other products, WeChat is made in China for the world. That’s the main reason why we want users from other market to try and use our product, because we believe it brings value”, Lau said.
Since its first inception 2 years ago, WeChat now has more than 300 million users all around the world, mostly in China and the rest of Asia where Indonesia is one of the biggest potential market. After the TV commercial aired, MNC’s high profile CEO Hary Tanoesoedibjo claimed that the daily registration jumped from 30.000 per day into 90.000 per day, “and that gets me excited!”, he added.
Not too much different from similar player such as KakaoTalk, WeChat too will focus on localisation of its app. One of the first step of the localisation process is the joint venture with MNC, and of course the television ad aired in 3 national TV stations since February 23rd. “Other localisation effort we’re trying to push is to add local contents such as emoticons, as one of the biggest media company, MNC will also help us localise our content”, and not just localising the content, the partnership with MNC will also localise the operation.
For the record, Tencent’s joint venture with MNC is the first joint-venture partnership ever been done by Tencent when entering a market. Lau added, “Usually we either deploy our company in to the market, but sometime we also do investment in a local company”. Aligned corporate core values is one of the biggest reason why Tencent decided to do a joint venture with MNC who they expect to help Tencent gain traction and market share in the crowded space of mobile messaging.
Lau also claim that they’re very well aware of the competition from the likes of KakaoTalk and Line, but it’s what keeps companies going and Lau said it’s only going to make it more fun. Lau also believe that WeChat has what it takes to win the competiti0n, “We’re a balanced combination of SNS enhanced for mobile with easy to use design. We’re also constantly building new features that we think is cool for the user and we’re also open for third party developers with our open architecture platform”. Lau added that they’re looking forward to work together with local third party company they can leverage inside the WeChat platform although they don’t have any partnership deals to announce on the horizon.
In his previous statement, Lau said that WeChat will currently focuses on the smartphone market and not so much on the feature phone market. The basic reason, according to Lau, is to maintain the user experience which is hard to retain using feature phone devices. “Amidst of all the competition, the biggest challenge is not just about how people signed up, but how many people you can keep. We want people to try and stick with WeChat.”, Lau said.
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