China’s Tencent turns on QQ Music hardware strategy with Sonos wireless speaker partnership

China’s Tencent turns on QQ Music hardware strategy with Sonos wireless speaker partnership

Chinese Internet giant Tencent is trying out a new hardware strategy for its QQ Music service, starting with a collaboration with wireless music system Sonos.

Sina Tech has noticed a new teaser page at for a QQ Music-compatible Sonos setup. Late last year, Tencent’s digital music team announced its vision to expand its music service to dedicated music hardware through its QPlay standard. The company has reportedly partnered with ten audio equipment and TV manufacturers, including DENON, Marantz and TCL.


QQ music boasts an impressive 250 million active PC users and 50 million mobile users. By comparison, Spotify recently announced it has 24 million active users.

Tencent built its empire on the strength of its messaging and social services. It saturated the Chinese market with its QQ instant messaging client, has seen broad adoption of its Qzone social networking service, and has a smash hit on its hands with its 300 million user WeChat messaging app.

Leveraging its massive user base, the company moved to take a large chunk of the gaming industry and branched out into other digital media verticals like music and video.

Hardware’s a natural jump for Tencent. The company partnered with TCL last year to pre-load its Internet services on a new television. Further cooperation should bring the Qplay protocol to other TCL sets. The company has also dabbled with an interactive robot, projection box and WeChat earphones with support for its push-to-talk functionality.

Given how much of a household name Tencent already is in China, its QQ music hardware partnerships could see some strong adoption among domestic consumers and bring in a nice chunk of revenue to the company. Spotify has shown some interest in the Greater China market and Rdio is laying the groundwork to expand into Asia, but if they want a piece of the mainland China online music industry, they’ll need to move fast to have a chance against Tencent.

Header image credit: Sonos

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