Tencent, the company behind the WeChat messaging service that has 194 million monthly active users, has taken a lot of criticism from users affected by a three-hour outage in China this morning, and now rival Line is piling in too.
The popular service went offline on Monday morning (China time) after routine work on a road broke a network cable, as the Wall Street Journal reports. Tencent rather ironically announced the news via its account on rival service Sina Weibo, from where Line provided a snarky reply reminding the company that it should have had a contingency plan for the sake of its users.
Here’s the comment — first spotted by WSJ’s Paul Mozur — translated into rough English via Google Translate:
The incident was WeChat’s first major outage and had many users worried when the app — which provides free voice calls, video calls and text chats using an Internet connection — failed to load on Monday morning.
Line is closing in on 200 million registered users worldwide and launched a dedicated China service in December 2012. Its operations in China are headed up by Qihoo 360, a security company that has branched out into Internet services and search in recent times.
Qihoo is often labelled an ‘upstart’ for its verbal spats and aggressive plans to compete with with bigger rivals like Baidu, which has lost some of its dominant search market share due to Qihoo’s efforts.
Line and Qihoo will need to do a lot more than poke fun at WeChat to overcome the messaging market leader in China, though it isn’t clear whether anything can dethrone WeChat in China. With more than 300 million registered users worldwide, Tencent’s messenger is the largest of its kind in the country and is branching out of China to rival WhatsApp and others worldwide.
Tencent recently revealed WeChat has 70 million registered users overseas, which gives it an enormous user base in China. Payments and games are set to comes to WeChat when the next version of the app is launched.
Headline image via hushenpaul.pixnet.net