Tencent, China's largest listed internet company, has begun testing a much-anticipated mobile games platform for its popular WeChat and Wireless QQ communications applications.
The platform, along with the payment system supporting it, will drive the transformation of the two free-to-use online services into fully fledged, revenue-generating operations for Shenzhen-based Tencent.
In a research note published yesterday, Barclays said Tencent appeared set to release its initial batch of mobile games for testing in successive stages, to be followed by another batch.
"We believe it is possible that Tencent could leverage its strength in social networking, communications and data mining capability to create viral traction for its games," Barclays said. It added that revenue from the new platform could be "at least one to two more quarters away".
Hong Kong-listed Tencent unveiled the mobile games platform last week at its application developer conference in Beijing, where company president Martin Lau Chi-ping said the firm's own payment system would be extended to its updated wireless platforms.
WeChat, which has nearly 400 million users in more than 200 markets, is a social mobile application for smartphones and media tablets that competes against Line and WhatsApp. Barclays said it expected WeChat version 5.0 to be available soon.
Wireless QQ, which has more than 100 million users, has expanded the reach of Tencent's widely adopted QQ desktop instant-messaging software. The desktop QQ platform has about 785 million active users. Version 4.2 of Wireless QQ is also expected to be released soon.
News sites on the mainland that cover online games reported early this week that the first batch of mobile games lined up by Tencent includes the in-house developed Link Link, Daily Racing, We Gun, We Run, Rhythm Master, HuanleDouDizhu and TianTianAiXiaoChu.
Link Link was the first to be tested this week on Google's Android operating system. Daily Racing and We Gun will be tested on both the Android and Apple iOS platforms. Last week, Tencent said it would also introduce third-party and licensed mobile titles including Temple Run 2 and Plants vs Zombies II.