China Unicom (CHU) says it is testing its own instant communications and messaging software and will formally launch it in the next few months.

China Unicom New Space, one of the affiliates of China Unicom which is engaged in value-added services, is responsible for developing and promoting this new software.

As it is under testing, the name of the software and its detailed cost to consumers has not yet been disclosed. However, local media report that the software has complete functions including multi-terminal log-in, free and unlimited short message sending, and group short message sending.

Tong Xiaoyu, general manager of China Unicom's Value-added Service Department says that China Unicom will promote the new software on both its G net and C net services.

There are currently many instant communications software on the Chinese market, such as QQ, MSN, POPO, and ICQ. China Mobile has also announced plans to launch its own IM service no later than the end of this year.

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