The story of American instant messaging is one of fragmentation: AOL lost its grip, Gmail and Facebook gained ground, that was that. But in China, IM portal Tencent dominates. It has expanded to games, social networking, apps, and an open platform to encourage a Western-style app ecosystem. (It’s now pushing West, entering Apple’s App Store and buying California-based Riot Games.) It makes $1 billion a quarter, much of it through virtual-goods sales, and is now the world’s third-largest publicly traded Internet company. Jealous yet, AOL?
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