Tencent has released new software for smartphones and smartwatches that pushes the eCommerce company further into payments and stacks it against its top competitors Google, Alibaba and Xiaomi.
Tencent’s new operating system, released yesterday (April 28), includes voice recognition and payments capability, Bloomberg reported. The software is called TOS+ and the news of the release came from COO Mark Ren, who spoke at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing.
“What Tencent will be in the future is a connector,” Ren said at the conference, according to Bloomberg. “We want to make an open platform to connect all people, devices and services.”
In the highly competitive Chinese smartphone market, Tencent is attempting to position itself against Alibaba, who just recently created an operating system that uses Google’s Android system. Tencent is also hoping to use its messaging app — We Chat — to help keep competitive with the Android offerings. According to Bloomberg’s report, WeChat Chairman Ma Huateng said it’s exploring new outlets for raising revenue using advertising, payment services and possible partnerships with JD.com — another one of Alibaba’s Chinese eCommerce competitors.
A Reuters report on the subject indicates that Tencent’s new operating system is aimed at helping get the company further into the Internet of Things (IoT) industry.
“We want to inject more content into smart hardware systems and have connectivity across different terminals,” Zhong Xiangping, head of TOS+, said at Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing, according to the report.
It was also recently announced that China Telecom – the nation’s largest telecom operator – has officially teamed up with Alibaba to roll out low cost ($48) smartphones to citizens in rural China. The deal with China Telecom – and access to its 186 million subscribers – is part of a two pronged attack for Alibaba. The eCommerce giant has increasingly come to view smaller cities as a key to the growth of both its retail business and its operating system, YunOS.