Chinese Internet Superpowers QQ and 360 Go To War!
The Chinese characters on the QQ fist translated means “If there is you, there can’t be me.”
A war has just broken out in China between internet giants Tenecent Technology and Qihoo Technology, and Chinese netizens are gonna get rocked! Tenecent, otherwise known as “QQ”, is by far the most popular instant messaging service in China, with over 100 million simultaneous online users at any one time, and more registered users than the population of the United States (500 million +). Qihoo, the owners of the 360, one of the most popular lines of anti-virus software in China, has made allegations that QQ has in fact been stealing their own users private information which has prompted to QQ to retaliate.
On September 27th of this year, Qihoo launched its free piracy software known as “360 Privacy Protector”. This software monitors whether the users movements online are being tracked by other online entities. Qihoo then alleged that their 360 Privacy Protector software had reported that by using a program called QQ doctor, a type of security software developed by Tenecent, QQ was in fact scanning, monitoring and loading users’ private information. Rumors then began to spread that QQ was actually feeding personal information (i.e. conversations) to the government. Rumors have quickly turned into public perception here.
In retaliation, QQ released a statement late Wednesday stating that it is withdrawing QQ services from 300 million users of Qihoo’s 360 Internet security services. QQ’s excuse is that Qihoo’s 360 software had “damaged the security setup of QQ and, therefore, threatened the account safety of QQ users.” QQ also alleged that 360 was trying to slander the company with their new software called the 360 KouKou Guard (KouKou sounds like QQ in Chinese). In response, 360 stopped providing downloads for their KouKou Guard tool but still advised users to stop using QQ for three days and to switch to other instant messaging tools like MSN and Fetion.
This battle has caused problems for millions of QQ users who have been forced to decide between the two internet superpowers. Although some have decided to quit use of the popular messaging program, most are siding with the social networking giant and choosing to uninstall their Qihoo 360 software. Netizen’s comments on Chinese blogs have shown some support for the battle, stating that they hope it will lead to more public scrutiny of companies who have access to personal information. Overall though, most Chinese netizens are hoping that this war ends quickly and quietly so that they can get on with their lives.