The Chinese portal NetEase.com (NTES) states that because of a revamping of the company's services, the Internet firm will suspend the operation of its chat rooms starting November 1, 2008.
As one of the earliest online interactive means in China, the chat room was once a popular service in the starry-eyed beginning period of the Chinese Internet. Among the first Chinese websites that provided chat rooms for netizens, NetEase.com accommodated 50,000 people to chat concurrently on its website at peak times. However, as more interactive methods appeared on the Internet, the chat room gradually lost its popularity.
Although NetEase.com states in its notice that netizens can still communicate with each other through its other relevant products, including blogs, community forums, and the instant messaging tool called Popo, the closure of the chat room still represents the end of an era.
The chat room was once considered one of the top five application services in China along with email and search engines, and according to a report conducted by the China Internet Network Information Center in 2000, about 38.8% Chinese netizens often used this service at that time.