With its contract with China Mobile about to expire, Chinese instant communications service provider Tencent has launched a new marketing ploy: adopting a free policy for its mobile QQ service.
In the past, users needed to pay CNY10 per month for Tencent's mobile QQ service, but now the company has opened the floodgates and is offering it at no cost. Tencent currently has about 7 million users for mobile QQ, so with the implementation of the new policy, its income will be reduced by CNY70 million each month.
Tencent's contract with China Mobile will expire on December 31, 2006. Although Tencent is now negotiating with the telecom on renewing the contract, there seems to be little possibility for them to reach a new contract as China Mobile has already launched a competing instant message tool itself, which is very similar to QQ.