I use the QQ messenger program from Tencent in China. While its big brother WeChat has a very broad ecosystem, QQ is much smaller and has limited function. As I wish to limit such a program to only messaging people in China, QQ fits the bill for me. Both QQ and Wechat are standalone programs that can run on Windows, Mac or Android. There is no version for Linux.
Both QQ and WeChat have a huge following in China. QQ has 805.5 million users, while WeChat has 1,040 million monthly active users (MAU). As of the second quarter of 2018, Facebook had 2.23 billion monthly active users [worldwide].
Tencent announced total revenue of USD11.693 bn for Q1 2018, an increase of 48% from Q1 2017. Monthly active user accounts (“MAU”) of QQ was 805.5 million, a decrease of 6.4% YoY. Smart device MAU was up by 2.4% year-on-year to 694.1 million. WeChat MAU exceeded 1 billion.
QQ: Monthly active user accounts (“MAU”) of QQ was 805.5 million, a decrease of 6.4% YoY. Smart device MAU was up by 2.4% year-on-year to 694.1 million. QQ KanDian, the news feed service within QQ, achieved over 80 million DAU.
Weixin and WeChat: Combined MAU was 1,040.0 million, representing year-on-year growth of 10.9%. Tencent opened up the platform of Mini-Programs to third-party game developers in late March and over 500 Mini Games are now available.
QQ and WeChat Security Concerns
There are numerous security concerns for QQ and WeChat. Both have been used to track and arrest people in China. Chat histories have been retrieved and used as evidence in Chinese courts to convict people. If you want a secure messaging environment, QQ or Wechat is not safe. I always assume that the Chinese Government has full access to any chat history. Do not discuss topics that are illegal in China.
Recent Chinese legislation have made it easier to allow Chinese courts to retrieve and use QQ/Wechat chat histories in court.
The QQ browser has been researched by Citizen Lab and found to have security issues. I would also assume that QQ has similar issues.
Viewing your QZone
Once QQ is running, to the right of your Icon pic will be a white envelope (QQ mail) and a white star with a “z” in the middle. Click this and your browser will start your QZone.
QZone is somewhat similar to the Facebook Wall, where others can see your posts and you can see theirs. QZone, however, does not do the psychological dependency practices of Facebook, so the Wall is not infinite length. QZone is completely in Chinese, with no English version. You will need to learn some Chinese to navigate. There are no English instructions.
The QZone input is only 3 lines deep, so if you are adding a long document it is best to edit it outside of QZone in an external editor, and then paste into the input area. You will also need to use your cursor up and down keys. Once you enter your content and hit the submit button you cannot edit your content, so check your work well. You can add photos and images, but not video.
QZone input can be affected by Chinese political events. If there is something sensitive happening in China your input might not work. You might need to way for the next day.
QQ QZone valid video formats
To upload videos, from the Windows browser displaying your QZone, on the menu line you will see “更多“. Click this and you will see a iconed menu of 13 options. Video is “视频”。There is a blue button with “上传视频“ to upload videos. Beside the blue button there is a “大视频上传” text for uploading larger videos. QQ will require you to download and install a program called QZoneVideo. For Windows I have v100.004.
To upload a video hit the blue button. It will ask you which file. There are only specific file types that will work for video. You cannot upload audio only, as MP3 is not supported. I use MP4 video format.
The upload process is quite easy. If your file is larger, then use the larger upload option. I needed the larger upload option for an 8M video. The input window will ask you a description. Only the file name and the video start screen will be displayed, so I am unsure of the use of the description.
Uploaded videos are not immediately available and need to be approved by the Chinese government. This usually takes about one hour. I have no experience in testing Chinese censors, as I stay well clear of any illegal content.
Once you upload a video, it will be displayed and linked on your personal wall, for others to see.
Using the Android version of QQ International I cannot see any videos nor am I able to get to the other options within QQ. I can see more using the Windows version.
2018 Sept 20: A couple of days ago in QQ International I lost the ability to send images to people in China. They can send me images but I cannot send to them. I can email images to their QQ mailbox, and I can take an image from my phone, which also runs QQ international, and it sends ok. But from the Windows desktop version I cannot send images. I tried rebooting Windows, uninstalled and reinstalled QQ International, and I get the same result.
I guess I’ll have to stick with this defect. QQ is a tightly coupled, closed, self-sealing system.