|Tencent's WeChat international trio: |
Ian Chan, Poshu Yeung, Norman Tam
at Silicon Dragon award event
Imagine a mobile phone ‘app’ so appealing that it reaches 200 million users within 8 months of launch without any promotion and quickly spreads to 30 countries.
That’s Tencent WeChat, the highly popular text and voice messaging service from China that is becoming the ‘must have’ communication tool among the global technorati. WeChat is one of the first tech services from China to tap an international customer base and to sport more users outside the home country than domestically.
Even Poshu Yeung (photo center), VP of Tencent’s international group, admits he’s a little surprised by how quickly WeChat took off. He notes that WeChat surpassed QQ, its wildly popular instant messaging service in China, in
its adoption rate — partly because the name of the service was changed from Weixin or micro message to the easily pronounceable WeChat.
Yeung (see photo) was recently named Silicon Dragon Entrepreneur of the Pearl River Delta 2012 at a Silicon Dragon event in Hong Kong recognizing the break-out success of WeChat. A former group tech manager at Google for five years and a graduate of UC-Berkeley, Yeung joined Tencent in 2008 as a quiet techie who later
took on managerial roles requiring constant communication.
Accepting the award on behalf of the team, he described the work environment at Tencent, which borrows some entrepreneurial script fom Google with innovation baked into its culture. There’s competition among teams for innovations and developers can devote 20 percent of their time to explore new projects — (remind you of Silicon Valley?) with performance results as the key motivational driver, not salaries. More than half of Tencent’s staffers are software developers or engineers, which gives an idea of the culture.
To read more of this post at Forbes, see WeChat Speeding.
The Silicon Dragon Entrepreneur Award is aimed at recognizing startups that fit three distinct criteria. First, they must have created an innovative and breakthrough product or service. Secondly, the startup’s management must be dynamic and passionate leaders that have brought their company to an industry leading position. Finally, the company must have achieved rapid growth over at least two years consecutively as a startup or emerging enterprise. The Silicon Dragon award, which is presented annually in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, is sponsored by KPMG.