Explorers attending the free QQ-X event traveled to the Great Wall Station, the first Chinese research station in Antarctica, recently as part of Tencent's efforts to encourage scientific exploration among young people. （Photo：China Daily）
Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, the largest global gaming provider by revenue and the operator of QQ, an instant messaging software service, has initiated a series of scientific exploration events aimed at encourage young people to explore the outside world, instead of being constantly absorbed online.
The company said it hopes to establish itself as a scientific, vibrant and cool brand that undertakes corporate social responsibilities. As a gaming company, it doesn't worry about losing game players. Instead, it hopes that players can actually go out to learn more and broaden their horizons.
"QQ has been in the market for 18 years, but it is not aging, and its application has become younger and trendier. We hope that more young Chinese can use the app to connect with different people and views worldwide," said Li Dan, general manager of marketing department of the social network group at Tencent.
China's gaming market netted sales revenues of 218.96 billion yuan ($33.75 billion) in 2017, jumping 23.1 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, the number of mobile game players in China reached 460 million, adding 9 percent over the earlier period.
By 2020, the core population of game players in China－those aged 15 to 44－will decline by 34 million compared to 2016, according to consultancy Euromonitor International. China's mobile gaming market will continue to grow but at a slower pace, meaning the competition between different game providers will become fiercer, it said.
According to Tencent, the number of active users of QQ, who are 21 years old or younger, has been constantly increasing, and they tend to use the app for a longer time.
Starting May 22 of last year, QQ organized free trips for young people to Galapagos, Namibia, Spain and the Antarctic, and it didn't disclose the specific amount it contributed to those trips.
During each trip, it selected three to four participants from those who uploaded videos and made specific travel plans online. The finalists stand out with their clear video statements and their enthusiasm about going on adventures.
"Tencent's approach appears to be contradictory with its own interests. But, in fact, this is consistent with the company's long-term growth strategy and will promote its business by establishing a good social image. The event also embodies the strategic core of business, which is all based on users value," said Neil Wang, president of consulting firm Frost & Sullivan in China.