Pony Ma: WeChat Helps Tencent Become an International Brand

Willis Wee
tencent pony ma
tencent pony ma

Pony Ma, CEO and founder at Tencent

At a summit for IT leaders yesterday in Shenzhen, China, Tencent founder and CEO Pony Ma said that mobile internet has given a chance for Chinese companies to plant their flags on the global map (h/t DoNews). Specifically for Tencent, Ma is talking about his 300 million-user strong WeChat mobile messaging app.

Ma said that WeChat is now used in many countries and regions including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, India, US, and Spain (see Wechat’s global heatmap here). In some countries, Tencent chose to run advertisements to acquire users. But Ma said that in some parts of Southeast Asia, he chose to establish partnerships with local companies instead.

Case in point being Indonesia, where Tencent (HKG:0700.HK - News) recently formed a joint venture with MNC Media to push WeChat in the country. Daily user growth in Indonesia increased from 30,000 to 90,000 thanks to WeChat’s TV ad campaign. Tencent’s WeChat also receives much help in Thailand from Sanook as it owns about 50 percent of the Thai Internet giant. Outside of Asia, Tencent has established an office in the U.S devoted to growing WeChat. Ma said:

Mobile internet has indeed given us a chance in a lifetime. Our products still have a fighting chance on the international stage. To Tencent, WeChat is our window of opportunity for Tencent to become an international brand.

Tencent's success in the mobile space has brought much envy among Chinese tech giants. Alibaba’s Jack Ma praised Tencent for being more innovative than his company in mobile due to “the powerful WeChat.”

Besides WeChat, Tencent has also recently launched QQ Chat for Facebook users, which is certainly aimed at taking its IM service to international users since Facebook is blocked in China.

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