Chapter 441: Utter defeat
In the same week.
The number of registered users on Weixin reached 46 million, with the highest number of users simultaneously online nearing 4 million. These two statistics were approximately ten and twenty percent of QQ’s respectively.
This entailed that:
Firstly, QQ was still the monarch of instant communication software. Still, the concept of ‘number two’ had begun to appear. With Weibo as a foundation, Weixin’s user base was expanding at a very shocking pace.
Secondly, more of Weixin’s users were frequently active.
The absolute majority of Weixin’s users were QQ users as well. Even without any data, it was quite obvious that most would have made the choice to use both of them simultaneously at the present stage.
Of course, they would definitely still be more accustomed to using QQ.
As the latecomer to the party, the bare-footed one, Weixin was happy to see such a situation as they would be able to joyfully accept it without difficulty. Still, it was different for Tencent. Having once monopolised the market, this was equivalent to somebody having come to take a share of territory that had solely belonged to them.
From having no opponent to an opponent having appeared, and competition arising. They who had formerly monopolised the market would naturally have to worry.
Meanwhile, Tencent’s Weibo was simply unable to gain traction. Even with artistes making an account there, the number of fans and activity levels on their website were extremely worrying.
The two moves used by Tencent were basically attacking using their Weibo and defending with the free gifts to their users.
Right now, their attack had met an immovable object.
As for defence, they were in too vulnerable a position. Even though the current situation was not actually that bad, some people were already feeling a sense of crisis, for even an embankment spanning hundreds of kilometres could really be potentially destroyed by a single nest of ants.
Xu Tingsheng wished to drag things out and not overly antagonise Tencent. Like he had said earlier, it would be more beneficial for them the longer the time that passed. It was much like how someone who went to a fruit garden with an empty basket would surely be able to pluck some given enough time.
Moreover, he was also worried that Tencent might be overly sensitive and have an over the top reaction, leading to a premature decisive battle as things immediately reached the point of no return in all-out war.
In his previous life, this was what had happened between Tencent and 360 in the year 2010. The two had fallen out irreparably and become sworn to see the other’s demise. That was sufficient to show that Tencent was indeed capable of and willing to perform such a deed.
Of course, the chances of them doing this right now were not high.
Tencent had dared to and chosen to do so in the year 2010 because it had already been an empire then. It had believed that it would be able to crush its opponent, with what would be a battle for survival for the other party leaving their own foundation essentially unharmed.
Right now, in early 2006, Tencent was still a ways of from that future Internet empire. If it wished to do so, utilising the same method, it would really be engaging in a taxing battle that would also leave them coming out worse off for sure.
Under what circumstances might they still choose to do so considering how things were now?
It would only happen if Tencent’s highest echelons were discerning enough and realised that they were actually facing an existential crisis in terms of their foundations. Otherwise, it might also be a mere overreaction on their part as they were unable to tolerate a shred of resistance and would see the other party dead even if they themselves were badly burned in the process.
Capabilities, scale, foundation, funds, talents, experience…
Xingchen Technologies, Weixin and Xu Tingsheng were at an absolute disadvantage in all these aspects.
Xu Tingsheng did not wish for this war to start too early on. Therefore, he chose not to counterattack for fear of overly antagonising Tencent. He wanted to take it slow, with the decisive battle only coming perhaps in the wireless era or the mobile era some years later.
Before that happened, he did not mind being suppressed. So long as he had some breathing space, he would be able to slowly accumulate his power and develop. That would be enough.
Yet, he had underestimated the vision, decisiveness, resolve and decision-making of a future business empire.
13th January 2006.
Without that ‘A letter to users’ of Xu Tingsheng’s previous life, without that ‘placing the choice in your hands’, a certain higher-up of Tencent’s expressed his stance directly through the media in rebuking Xingchen Technologies for copying and imitating QQ. Meanwhile, when there had been no choice but for Tencent to retaliate, Xingchen Technologies had threatened the celebrities on its Weibo against entering their Weibo in a malicious form of competition.
Immediately afterwards, the users discovered that they were no longer able to simultaneously launch both QQ and Weixin. Those who had already been getting used to having both these instant communication software on at once suddenly discovered that Weixin would turn off whenever they logged into QQ.
It had arrived.
This battle that should really have occurred between Tencent and 360 in the year 2010, that melee which would be later evaluated as one of the top five malicious, destructive conflicts in China’s business industry, arrived prematurely.
While the form, process and combatants were different, it was intrinsically the same. Tencent was drawing on its user base and their habitual usage of its software to suppress its opponent.
Xu Tingsheng had no way of judging and no need to judge whether it was Tencent or 360 who had been in the right or wrong. There was never any meaning to that. When things had reached such an extent in the business arena, whatever excuse one might provide, it was essentially a conflict of interest that existed between them.
Actually, neither Xingchen nor Tencent could be judged by moral standards. They were engaged in a battle to secure their commercial interests-that was all.
Xu Tingsheng also had no justification in looking down on and feeling superior to Tencent. Ever since his rebirth, he too had essentially been using the mountain shack strategy of imitation all along, just that what he had been imitating came from the future.
At the end of the day, things had not gone as Xu Tingsheng had thought they would as Tencent had decisively, virtually unreasonably pounced to slay Weixin in the cradle whatever the costs. So long as their foe fell, a little minor reorganisation and the road to empire would be in sight.
Xu Tingsheng knew of an interesting tale. Two years later, 51’s Pang Dongshen and Baofeng’s Ma Xin would both publicly say in succession that they would choose to defeat QQ even if their lifespans were reduced by 20 years as the price.
These were the representatives of those who had been mercilessly hunted down and ‘killed’ by Tencent.
Xu Tingsheng did not know if he would be one of them. Still, if asked to choose, he would definitely not be willing to give up that twenty years. After all, he was actually not such an ambitious person. He was five years older than Little Xiang Ning, and, reportedly, women generally had longer lifespans than men.
As for threatening the VIPs on Weibo, Xu Tingsheng found that it was just some employees of Xingchen who were closer with them who had given them a bit of friendly advice in their personal capacity. They had not utilised any forceful means at all. Still, under these circumstances, there was no one who would reason with you.
Much denunciation occured on Xingchen Weibo, chastising Xingchen Weibo.
Of course, there were also a great many people who criticised Tencent.
Anyway, this incident had already blown up into a complete mess.
In the six hourly report from 9am to 3pm, while the number of registered users on Weixin did grow by a million, the number of active users on it plummeted. In these six hours, the highest number of people simultaneously on Weixin was less than four hundred thousand, less than a tenth of what it had originally been.
It was observed from the data that many users would first log onto Weixin and enter Weibo and Happy Farm through it before logging onto QQ, thereby allowing Weixin to be turned off.
This also meant that Weixin’s communication function had been effectively forsaken.
Xu Tingsheng’s primary goal in launching Weixin had been thoroughly stymied.
It was utter defeat.
A mere six hours. As a direct competitor of QQ’s, Weixin was far less sturdy than 360 which really hailed from another domain. Six hours, utter defeat, no way of retaliating whatsoever.
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