Neymar to join Messi in small screen venture

This Bloomberg article from yesterday highlighted Tencent’s huge stock market gain – the most in half a year – after a 35% increase in revenue from desktop games and WeChat messaging, while noting that Lionel Messi was hired to promoted WeChat earlier this year. What it failed to mention is that Messi’s Barcelona teammate Neymar has just agreed to join forces off the pitch as well as on it, by becoming another international face of WeChat, known as Weixin (way-SHEEN) in China.

It’s an interesting next chapter of Neymar’s China strategy (first discussed on these pages back in June), even if this is largely targeted at the overseas market, and certainly won’t ruffle feathers with his superstar teammate Messi in the way that signing with a rival could have done. Even allowing for the usual Chinese inflated numbers (general rule: divide by ten, and then then some), Tencent is a beast. Compare some of the latest numbers:

Tencent’s QQ messaging, 815.6 million monthly active users

Tencent’s WeChat/Weixin: 272 million monthly active users

Sina’s Weibo: 60.2 million daily active users

(NB the difference between daily (Sina) and monthly (Tencent) active users, which would obviously push Tencent’s numbers higher, but this appears to be how the two companies release their data).

WeChat currently functions mostly as a mobile voice and text messaging app, and also has a Facebook-like social timeline element, but analysts say games could start to bring in the revenue next year, with more games and emoticons added for WeChat’s users outside of China.

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