Despite the rise of Weibo, the instant messaging (IM) has been serving as the largest network application of China since the end of 2011.
According to the latest statistics from China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), 468 million Chinese people have opened accounts for instant messaging service as of the end of December 2012, an increase of nearly 53 million from the end of 2011.
The CNNIC experts said that with the constant updating of product features, the instant messaging products are increasingly meeting the demand of people. The development of instant messaging products used on smart phones has injected more vitality into the immediate communication market.
"The instant messaging of mobile phones is in line with the characteristics of mobile social networks, and users can communicate with their friends whenever and wherever possible. In addition, the short messages, pictures, voices, videos, positioning and QR code have gradually been added to the instant messages, making communication more convenient and interesting. Being online has become a habit," an insider said.
WeChat, a mobile instant messaging tool developed by Tencent Company, has become more and more popular recently. QQ and MSN are the products of personal Internet era, while WeChat has a more close connection with the mobile Internet era. WeChat has more extensive utilization of the personal location information and has developed such functions as "shake to find friends." These functions are hard to be achieved by traditional QQ and MSN.
For the market development, Chen Jiagong, a CNNIC senior analyst, said that the instant messaging tools will be developed in a more mobile and fundamental way in the future, involving more users.
"We can imagine that the future instant messaging will be completely open, and people will be able to use the mailbox, communication, video and search engine simultaneously only by logging in an account," said Jin Jianbin, professor at School of Journalism and Communication under Tsinghua University.
Read the Chinese version: 你在哪儿？我“在线”; Source: People's Daily; Author: Yu Jianbin, Zhao Zhanhui and Yu Siluan
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