By Melanie Lee
SHANGHAI Jan 12 Tencent Holdings Ltd
, China's largest Internet company by revenue, has no
plans to implement a real-name registration system for its QQ
instant messaging product because of privacy concerns, the
Southern Daily newspaper reported on Thursday, quoting the
company's chief executive.
At the Municipal People's Congress in Nanshan District in
the southern city of Shenzhen on Wednesday, Pony Ma said Tencent
had considered implementing a real-name system for QQ, but had
decided that the question of real-name registrations, privacy
and security were mutually contradictory.
QQ is China's largest and most popular instant messaging
Faced with questions at the Municipal People's Congress
about criminal activity conducted over QQ, Ma said: "If there
are people now using the telephone to conduct prostitution, is
it the responsibility of telecommunications operators to change
Company executives like Ma are frequently invited to attend
annual local legislatures in a consultative capacity.
The subject of registering users' real names with social
networking sites in China has been a touchy subject of late.
Beijing insists it is necessary to prevent online
rumour-mongering, but critics say it is a cover to monitor and
censor views of citizens on the Internet.
The Beijing city government said in December that it would
tighten control over popular microblogs that have vexed the
authorities with their rapid dissemination of news, giving users
three months to register their real names or face legal
The cities of Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen also
announced in late December that they would require microblog
operators to register users with their real names. Tencent is
based in Shenzhen.
Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China, the world's
largest Internet market with 505 million users.
Local equivalents such as Sina Corp's Twitter-like
service Weibo and Renren Inc's Facebook-like site, have
filled the space for social networking sites and actively censor
content deemed inappropriate.
However, not all social networks are turned off by the idea
of real-name registration. Dominic Penaloza, chief executive
of Ushi, a professional social network in China, said a
real-name based social network would be a good thing for the
"It is positive because it helps viral (marketing) growth.
When people are socialising with their real names, there is
generally more value than when they socialise anonymously,"
Penaloza said. "You can look at Facebook, look at LinkedIn, it's
$110 billion in value in real name social networking."