May 4, 2015
The Internet of Things (IOT) is truly taking centerstage with manufacturers introducing smart devices and devices integrated with payments. Tencent, a leading tech company that owns China’s largest social network, QQ, and the widely used messaging app WeChat, has introduced its mobile operating systems TOS" and "TOS+, which operate on multiple devices including smart TVs and smartwatches, and enable mobile payments. The new operating system includes voice recognition and payments capabilities. This means that users can use a smartwatch enabled with the TOS+ operating system to make a mobile payment, or connect their smartphone to the TV and use it as a controller for playing games.
Developers and manufacturers are allowed to use the operating system based on the revenue sharing—similar to Google’s Android mobile OS.
Tencent has also marked its presence in the payments vertical with the introduction of China’s first online private bank, WeBank. Webank is an online-only bank that focuses on lending to small and medium businesses in China, with loans up to $160,700.
With the introduction of its new operating system, Tencent is in close competition with the e-commerce giant Alibaba, who has already launched its operating system for mobile devices dubbed Yun OS, which has been adopted by smartphone maker Meizu. Alibaba has released several smart products to the market, including smart TVs that connect to the internet, smart wearable fitness bands, and smart air purifiers. It is launching a "smart living" business unit to enable internet capabilities for everyday products.
Tencent’s other competitor, Xiaomi is also developing mobile payments systems using wearable technology.
Baidu Inc., China's biggest search engine, is also developing its own Android-based smartwatch OS, DuWear, compatible with Sony, Motorola and LG brand’s wearables. The DuWear Watch is set to go on sale in June.
Tencent’s major stake in China’s social sector—through WeChat and QQ—has already created a trusted customer base for the company. The introduction of its operating system blends well with its existing market presence, enabling the company to remain at the top of the consumer market.