Tencent Contest Kicks Off New Wave in IT Innovation


Shenzhen September 7 2006 – The First Tsinghua University Innovative Ideas and Innovations in IT Contest which has attracted a great deal of attention from the IT industry and students has entered the elimination stage after three months of registration and preliminary screenings. Since its official start on June 1 the contest has gained an active response from universities and colleges around China as well as the wider society. Students and student society teams have shown enthusiasm for the contest creating an atmosphere conducive to innovation both on campus and in society. As the contest's sponsor Tsinghua University one of China's most renowned universities has been working together with Tencent the world largest provider of IM and Internet value-added services to boost innovation on campus and in the IT industry. The cooperation of Tsinghua University and Tencent is promoting the closer integration of innovation within universities and innovation within the scientific/technological community while also fostering the fresh talent that the industry so urgently needs. At the same time Tencent's innovative ideas and experience are helping students explore their own ideas and development paths.

Tencent Co-Chief Technology Officer Jeff Xiong says that technological innovation is the cornerstone of the company's survival and development and the spirit of innovation lies at the core of its corporate culture. Through innovation contests held within the company Tencent has already gained a huge number of innovative ideas and development opportunities and the company hopes that by supporting innovation contests that are open to the public it can build a stronger foundation of knowledge and creativity that will speed its further development.

Making innovation a habit

According to Jeff Xiong the secret of Tencent's rapid development in China's Internet industry over recent years is its precise understanding of customers' needs and its constant drive to innovate according to those needs. Within the company Tencent has developed a corporate culture and supportive conditions that encourage and allow employees to innovate – the company has established prizes to award employees who make innovations in any area and it regularly holds competitions awarding individual winners and their teams. For example the well-known QQLive was developed on the basis of work by an employee of Tencent. Today QQLive has become a must for Internet users who want to watch TV programs and Tencent's live shows online. This example not only shows that small innovations can bring huge profits but also proves that Tencent's supportive corporate environment provides an excellent basis for the emergence and growth of technological innovations.

For Tencent innovations made outside the company are also development opportunities. To better enable the company to grasp these kinds of opportunities it established the Tencent Innovations Contest on September 1 2006. With the theme of "innovation creates value" the contest is open to students and innovators around the country. The contest has five categories including Internet software design RTX applications QQLive applications QQ casual gaming community and mid-sized Internet RPG. In total the awards amount to CNY 250000 with the largest single prize set at CNY 20000. Such generous prizes are considered a great incentive for the public to participate in the contest. As such the contest is promoting an upsurge of innovation involving the whole of China's Internet industry while also providing a tremendous boost to Tencent's own innovation drive.

No innovation no Tencent

"It is clear that without all these innovations Tencent would not be the company it is today" said Jeff Xiong. "If you compare today's Tencent community with QQ's IM a few years ago it's easy to see how much is new and all these innovations come from Tencent."

Indeed it is a well-known fact that Tencent has been growing rapidly over these past few years from QQ Pet to QQ Show Tenpay to paipai.com. Nevertheless for any Internet enterprise it is no easy task to turn an innovative idea into a working reality that will conform to the company's already established businesses. However Tencent has managed this difficult process with ease. It has shown that it can always skillfully integrate new businesses with its QQ community and other aspects of its operations. This is thanks to a groundbreaking business plan that Tencent has developed: "The Industry Model for Online Life." According to this model Tencent first strives to grasp the needs of Internet users then studies users' experiences and then works to build a "one-stop" community for users. By joining this community of Tencent's users can find all their Internet needs met.

Guided by this business model Tencent established an innovation center this May. The center specializes in developing various innovative technologies and services for enterprises. By setting up the Tencent Innovation Center also known as the QQ Labs Tencent has established a comprehensive mechanism to promote innovation and the development of these innovations. Such a mechanism is rare among Chinese Internet enterprises. If we consider that innovation is what made Tencent the Internet industry giant it is today then this new innovation center is sure to keep the company in perpetual motion at the head of the game.

To show Tencent's commitment to scientific and technological innovation and its support for the students of Tsinghua University in their efforts to innovate Jeff Xiong will make a keynote speech at Tsinghua University to introduce the company's experience and practices regarding innovation. The speech will take place during the third match of the Tsinghua University IT Innovation Contest. Students and IT industry personnel are expected to find the speech of great interest.