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Bernard M -- Taipei English Tutor

Bernard M - English Conversation / TOEFL / IELTS 一對一英文會話

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

QQ Coin: China’s Fastest-Growing Currency by Michael Tchong FROM China Trends

We have tried to update this story, but remarkably enough, there’s zero news about the QQ Coin online since early 2007, suggesting that China’s government is clamping down on all QQ Coin-related stories. Our sources suggest that QQ Coin continues to appreciate, which lends credence to the news blackout.

China Trends already reported that Bejing has been trying to rein in China’s fastest-rising currency trend: Tencent’s QQ coin. Used to sell such things as virtual flowers for IM buddies, ringtones and magical swords for online gamers, the QQ coin has risen as much as 70% in real-world value in recent weeks.

Tencent Holdings designed the payment system in 2002 to allow its 233 million registered users to shop for virtual goods. Virtual currencies are in use in many countries, but nowhere have they taken off faster than in China. The total volume of virtual trading in China was worth about US$900 million last year, with about 45% of that going for merchandise in Tencent’s world.

Tencent, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange and is famous for its penguin mascot, sells QQ coins for one yuan (13 cents) each, but freely rewards them to top-scoring gamers to keep them playing. QQ coins are also used as promotional tools by the likes of Coca-Cola.

Then something happened last year that Tencent hadn’t planned on. Online gaming sites began accepting QQ coins. Because credit cards aren’t yet commonplace in China, the coins were seen as a safer, more practical way to make online purchases. And so the cycle of virtual inflation had begun. 钟

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