Tencent was pleased to report its issued patent total recently passed the 100 mark. According to the Tencent Patent Statistics Quarterly Reportpublished by the Tencent Research Institute at the end of June Tencent had applied for a total of 1787 patents and received 86 patent grants by the end of the second quarter of 2008. In the two weeks that followed Tencent was awarded 16 more patents putting the company’s total number of patents at 102. This swift progress underscores the success of Tencent’s sustained investment strategy in independent research development and technological innovation.
In addition to its domestic patent program Tencent also files patent applications in foreign countries and regions with high Internet development such as the U.S. and South Korea. In July 2008 based on “a method and system for ringtone services in instant messaging” Tencent acquired its first overseas patent in South Korea. Tencent co-chief technology officer Jeff Xiong said the company had established an advanced innovation mechanism and patent management process. Key to the program is the Tencent Research Institute. Set up with an investment of more than RMB100 million the Institute’s objective is to ramp up Tencent’s technological know-how and capacity in the next three to five years to better compete with its international peers. On the patent front Tencent expects to receive some 1000 patent awards over the next three years.
Tencent patent applications to date have been widely based in the online products and service arena. One example is the patent recently awarded for “method and system for ringtone services in instant messaging” an offering better known by QQ users as QQ Ring. QQ’s functions including QQ group chatting QQ to mobile phone communications QQ Internet hard disk QQ Magic Show and QQ high speed file transmission have become benchmarks aggressively copied by competitors but have also helped Tencent to build its competitive core offering. The popular QQ high speed file transmission function involves no less than 20 patents. The QQ group chatting function dramatically changed instant messaging users’ traditional one-to-one communication approach. More remarkably the invention of Mobile QQ successfully created a new business model for mobile value added business and introduced a new way of thinking for the development of the sector. In 2008 this invention received the Excellent Patent Award of China.