Tencent to woo more developers for its services

'Open platform' initiatives are aimed at maximising gains from developer partnerships

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 July, 2013, 4:48am

Tencent, China's largest listed internet company, is expected to spark greater interest from third-party software developers with the unveiling of its latest "open platform" initiatives for a range of services.

The Shenzhen-based company, in which South African media group Naspers is a major shareholder, is hosting its application developer conference in Beijing today, with the theme "Open & Revolution".

A research note from Barclays said efforts by Tencent to further open up its platform to more application developers made it "well positioned to capture the emerging opportunity in mobile internet" services.

Tencent, which launched its open platform strategy in 2011, has encouraged partnerships with apps developers for both its desktop and mobile services. Its long-term goal is to record 20 billion yuan (HK$25 billion ) in total shared revenue with developers.

In a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange in May, Tencent chairman and chief executive Pony Ma Huateng said: "We believe we are the partner of choice for third-party developers in China, as such developers can enjoy access to our large logged-in user base across multiple devices."

Barclays estimated that the number of monthly active users on Wireless QQ, Tencent's portfolio of instant online messaging services for mobile devices, has reached 550 million. The firm's fast-rising WeChat social networking text and voice messaging service, known as Weixin on the mainland, has about 194 million monthly active users on the Android, Apple iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS and Symbian platforms.

Apple said last month it would support Tencent Weibo, the mainland firm's microblogging service, on the updated mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads - iOS 7.

Barclays said today's expected announcements by Tencent could include open platform initiatives for Wireless QQ, WeChat and mobile Guangdiantong, its mobile social advertising platform. It added that details of Tencent's online gaming open platform and "cloud" initiatives could also be announced.

In May, Tencent said it would introduce a new, independent game platform that would connect all its mobile social networking services. Barclays said in a separate report that adding a "game centre" function within the free WeChat service would enable users to search for mobile games and connect with other users to play within the platform.