Why a huge user base built around profitable messaging apps has Tencent poised for a big year

Gigaom

When it comes to Chinese internet giants, Baidu and Alibaba are familiar names to many in the U.S. But, Tencent may not ring a bell outside of China. I’m betting that will change as the Shenzhen-based social networking and mobile apps giant keeps growing its user base both inside and outside of its home country.

Fun fact: Tencent was one of only three tech companies to make the cut in four top tech innovator lists (from Forbes, Boston Consulting Group, MIT Technology Review and Fast Company), as Scott Anthony pointed out in a Harvard Business Review post on Thursday. The other two winners were Google(s goog) and Amazon(s amzn). That’s pretty heady company.

Tencent’s core products –apps like  QQ instant messaging and WeChat SMS (also known as Weixin) — may not be all that innovative in and of themselves But, Tencent has been able to build a profitable business model around…

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