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Tencent teams with Naspers to expand market in Africa

Tencent, Naspers, Tencent in Africa

One of China's largest internet companies is intensifying its efforts to crack the African market with a bid to disrupt Facebook's WhatsApp with a rival messenging service.

中国最大的互联网公司之一正加紧努力开拓非洲市场,与Facebook旗下的聊天服务WhatsApp展开竞争。

Tencent has teamed with Africa's largest media company, Naspers, to introduce its social media app across the continent. The service, WeChat, has more than 650m active monthly users in China, and it is cheaper than SMS.

腾讯联手非洲最大的媒体公司Naspers,在整个非洲大陆推出其社交媒体app。微信服务在中国每个月拥有超过6.5亿活跃用户,且费用低于短信。

The Chinese-South African joint venture is betting on the rapid growth of smartphone sales to young people, who are increasingly using their mobile phones to shop, bank, search for jobs, listen to radio and order taxis and takeaways.

这一由中国与南非合资的项目押注于面向年轻人的智能手机销售快速增长,这一人群越来越多地使用手机购物、储蓄、找工作、听广播、打出租和叫外卖。

Naspers holds a 46.5 per cent stake in Tencent, making it one of the highest profile examples of South African and Chinese companies joining forces to expand across the continent. Its initial investment of $34m for the shareholding has paid off spectacularly, helping Naspers become South Africa's biggest company by value and its chairman Koos Bekker to become a billionaire.

Naspers公司持有腾讯46.5%的股份,成为南非与中国公司联手在非洲大陆扩张的最引人注目的一个例子。其3400万美元的先期投资已换来可观回报,帮助Naspers成为了南非市值最高的公司,也令其董事长库尔斯·贝克成为亿万富翁。

Brett Loubser, the head of WeChat Africa, said the average African would have their first ever experience of the internet through their mobile device.

微信在非洲的区域负责人Brett Loubser表示,非洲普通人的首次上网体验将通过移动设备实现。

"They've missed the entire desktop, PC, laptop, whatever thing, and because of that, I think we're seeing innovation come out of Africa from a mobile perspective that is just leagues ahead of anywhere else on earth really," said Mr Loubser.

Loubser说:"他们已经错过了台式机、个人电脑、笔记本电脑之类,而正因为如此,我认为从移动设备的角度来看,非洲迸发的创新实际上远远超前于世界上其他地方。"

WeChat offers users services far beyond the simple messaging functions available in WhatsApp. In an apparent bid to tie in other services to its system, WeChat has also launched a $3.5m venture capital fund to invest in new tech companies offering services that the app could offer. It has already invested in Money for Jam, a micro jobbing service.

微信向用户提供的服务,远远超越了WhatsApp所提供的单纯聊天功能。为了将其他服务捆绑至自己的系统,微信还启动了一只350万美元的风险投资基金,投资于新兴科技公司,由其开发微信可向用户推出的服务。它已投资了微招聘服务平台Money for Jam。

It is also introducing a "digital wallet" service in partnership with Standard Bank, Africa's largest lender by assets, which is part-owned by China's ICBC bank. This enables users to conduct financial transactions and make payments using mobile phones, even to recipients with no bank account.

微信还与非洲资产最大的银行——标准银行合作推出了"电子钱包"服务,该银行由中国工商银行持有部分股权。该服务能让用户通过手机完成银行转账和支付,即便对方没有银行账户。

Mr Loubser declined to say how many users it had in Africa, but he acknowledged that competition was intensifying. World Wide Worx, a Johannesburg-based technology research company, estimates that WeChat, launched in the African market in 2014, has about 6m registered users in South Africa, compared with about 14m active WhatsApp users.

Loubser拒绝透露微信在非洲拥有多少用户,但他承认竞争已愈演愈烈。据约翰内斯堡科技研究公司World Wide Worx估计,2014年推向非洲市场的微信,在南非拥有大约600万注册用户,相比之下WhatsApp拥有大约1400万活跃用户。

"Given that WhatsApp is eight years old, we're five years late to the party, and I think where we are at right now we are happy with," Mr Loubser said.

Loubser说:"考虑到WhatsApp已经8岁了,我们晚来了5年,我认为我们很满意现在的处境。"

He added: "WhatsApp has possibly the highest market penetration of any country on earth in South Africa. Fighting that as a newcomer is really tough, but in other African territories, smartphone penetration is pretty much non-existent: that's an open market."

他补充说:"WhatsApp在南非的市场渗透率,可能是全球所有国家中最高的。作为一个新入者要与其竞争是非常困难的,但在非洲其他国家,智能手机的渗透率几乎还不存在,那是一个开放的市场。"

WeChat's short-term focus is on building its presence and offerings in South Africa, the continent's most industrialised nation, where it has a team of 31 staff and scores of services available on its platform. But it is also active in Ghana and Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation, where it has a team of three and is working with Nigerian start-ups such as Jobberman, an online employment service, and Traclist, an online fashion shopping service.

微信短期内的重点是在南非这一非洲大陆工业化程度最高的国家落户,并推出更多服务,微信目前在南非有31名雇员,其平台上提供数十种服务。但它在加纳和尼日利亚也很活跃,后者是非洲人口最多的国家,微信在该国有一个三人小组,与当地初创企业展开合作,如在线招聘服务Jobberman和在线时尚购物服务Traclist。

2016-06-23

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