Ten­cent be­com­ing global In­ter­net player through in­no­va­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - IP SPECIAL - By LI FUSHENG li­fusheng@chi­nadaily.com.cn

De­spite copy­cat charges at the in­cep­tion of its flag­ship QQ chat pro­gram, Shen­zhen­based Ten­cent Inc has been blaz­ing a path of its own in­no­va­tion.

The lat­est of­fi­cial recog­ni­tion was a gold medal awarded by the State In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Of­fice in November for a patent on tech­nol­ogy that im­proves peer- to- peer con­nec­tiv­ity and ef­fi­cient use of band­width.

With at least half of In­ter­net traf­fic P2P data, the patent ap­proved in 2004 has played a big role in im­prov­ing the Ten­cent user ex­pe­ri­ence in down­loads and data trans­fers, said Wang Huo­tao, head of the com­pany’s in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty depart­ment.

“For ex­am­ple, mu­sic lovers feel it is re­ally fast to down­load a song from our web­site. (Down­load­ing) sev­eral megabytes takes just sec­onds,” said Wang.

“Ac­tu­ally, the more peo­ple that down­load a piece of mu­sic, the faster they will get it.”

That makes a big dif­fer­ence as statis­tics from the com­pany show that at any mo­ment last year more than 10 mil­lion users were us­ing its QQ Mu­sic.

Wang said those who watch videos, play on­line games and down­load files are ben­e­fit­ing be­cause such files need much larger amount of data.

Ac­cord­ing to Ten­cent, the tech­nol­ogy helped its QQ Down­load save on av­er­age 150 gi­ga­bytes of band­width daily, with the peak value reach­ing 882 gi­ga­bytes.

It is not the first time Ten­cent has won awards for its in­no­va­tion.

“So far we have won two gold prizes and seven other awards from SIPO,” said Wang, who es­tab­lished the com­pany’s IP depart­ment in 2003 and has since headed it.

Wang said the move also made Ten­cent the first In­ter­net com­pany in China to have a team ded­i­cated to IP and patents. He said most dot-com com­pa­nies did not start such work un­til 2008.

He said Ten­cent has ac­tu­ally em­pha­sized in­no­va­tion since its es­tab­lish­ment in 1998.

Con­fronting the ru­mor that the com­pany’s in­stant mes­sag­ing soft­ware QQ was a copy­cat of ICQ de­vel­oped by an Is­raeli com­pany, Wang said they are dif­fer­ent in many as­pects. A fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence is that QQ stores data on servers rather than on per­sonal com­put­ers like ICQ.

“ICQ would not work in China as most peo­ple in the late 1990s and early 2000s did not have per­sonal com­put­ers.”

Ac­cord­ing to Ten­cent’s web­site, there were nearly 800 mil­lion ac­tive QQ ac­counts as of Dec 31, 2012, mak­ing it one of the most pop­u­lar so­cial me­dia world­wide.

It is prob­a­bly the largest num­ber of users in the coun­try, said Wang, adding Ten­cent also has the most patents among China’s In­ter­net com­pa­nies.

Since 2001 Ten­cent has filed more than 8,000 patent ap­pli­ca­tions world­wide, a quar­ter of them out­side China. About 1,400 have been ap­proved.

“Among China’s In­ter­net com­pa­nies, we are No 1 in num­ber of patent ap­pli­ca­tions. World­wide, we are at the same level as Google and Ya­hoo.”

De­spite its achieve­ments, the com­pany is mak­ing even greater effort in its patent-re­lated work. It will in­crease in­vest­ment in patent ap­pli­ca­tions and main­te­nance in 2014 in what “will be one of the largest patent bud­gets in China”, Wang said.

LIU JUNFENG / FOR CHINA DAILY

QQ is now a pop­u­lar so­cial me­dia world­wide.

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