Monday, 11 August 2008

Getting Your Tencent's Worth?

A great blog by Chris Skinner on QQ coins and their role in the future of money. The numbers are extraordinary indeed, leading me to wonder whether certain of the - ahem - "retailers" using the service aren't opening a unique account each time they issue QQ coins to fund a particular transaction?

One also wonders how well the service will weather the alleged Chinese government crack-down reported by Dark Diamond.

Somewhat nervously, I found it interesting to compare QQ coins to the characteristics that I told some RCA students would mark successful financial services innovation:
"1. The service is unlikely to be offered or facilitated by an entity that consumers perceive to be an “institution”;

2. The service solves the root cause of consumers’ critical need in the course of actual or desired activities, linking with trusted third parties to provide a comprehensive consumer experience;

3. The service leverages a shock amongst consumers who subsequently accept that the world has changed, yet helps them to embrace that change;

4. The service leaves day-to-day control of the management of money with the consumer;

5. The service improves rapidly with user collaboration, giving value beyond the facilitator;

6. The service will remain successful so long as the facilitator continues to invest in enhancing the service and meeting related consumer needs rather than seeking merely to enrich itself (i.e. preferring to meet the needs of stakeholders other than consumers);

7. The service is safe, easy to use, and involves communications that are fair, transparent (enabling ready comparison) and neither misleading nor patronising;

8. The service and its operator plays well with the regulators and public policy/opinion-formers."

I sense from Dark Diamond's numerous allegations that, if those allegations are true, QQ coins will prove a little rubbery in terms of 6, 7 and 8, pending the outcome of the alleged Chinese government intervention. But I guess PayPal weathered a similar kind of storm, and even eGold was entitled to remain in business, albeit subject to the laws it and certain of its directors had flouted.

So definitely worth watching that space, as well as how Tencent's western versions, like QQ Games are taken up.
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