PingWest product play reported on April 13th that Tencent’s QQ sent a notice to international users and announced that it would stop providing services to European users from May 20. Tencent’s move may be related to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a European data protection and privacy regulation that will come into effect on May 25. GDPR aims to give European citizens more control over personal data, and violators will face the highest global 4% of the fine. Tencent’s statement is only one sentence, and it is not clear what the real reason for stopping the service is. QQ and Tencent’s other mobile messaging app WeChat is mainly used by Chinese or Chinese users.
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General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Implementation date: 2018 May 25
QQ European Stoppage: 2018 May 20
The regulation applies if the data controller, an organization that collects data from EU residents, or processor, an organization that processes data on behalf of a data controller like cloud service providers or the data subject (person) is based in the EU. The regulation also applies to organizations based outside the EU if they collect or process personal data of individuals located inside the EU. According to the European Commission, “personal data is any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. It can be anything from a name, a home address, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer’s IP address source
Today, QQ still has some 850 million active monthly users – more than double the number Twitter claims. In other ways, however, it is only a shadow of its former self…
Imagine it this way: QQ is the less attractive, shorter, and less intelligent older brother who is always upstaged by his younger sibling. “Little brother” WeChat now has 963 million monthly active users…
QQ’s demographics trend towards the young and unsophisticated. They are less likely to hail from Tier 1 cities, and 60% are under 30 years old. Many users are grade-school and high-school students who have not yet purchased their first phone but do have access to a computer. While QQ’s total active user count fell in the second quarter, it had strong growth among users born since the year 2000. source
Instead of competing with WeChat, QQ has repositioned itself to be a “one-stop entertainment portal” for young Chinese: “We are transforming QQ from a pure messaging app into one that supports chatting, sharing, interest groups, and digital content like games, anime, literature, music, live streaming, and so on,” a Tencent spokesperson has said.
QQ’s demographic is young: “60% of all QQ users were born after 1990.” source
Last Thursday, the Chinese lawyer Ge Yongxi posted a satirical photomontage about the Panama Papers on the Wechat messaging service. A few hours later, he was arrested…
Five police officers came to his house and took him to Yanbu police station in Foscan. They said he had posted an insulting message about China’s president on Wechat…
The police told me the reason for his arrest was “public disparagement of a third party”. It’s likely they’re talking about the photomontage that he posted for his friends on Wechat. And it’s still there, by the way. source