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Tencent's decision to keep WeChat free appreciated


09:52, April 24, 2013

BEIJING, April 23 (Xinhua) -- An industry official on Tuesday expressed welcome and support for Tencent's decision to keep its mobile voice-messaging application WeChat as a free app.

Zhang Feng, director of the telecommunications development department under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said at a press conference that the government would leave the pricing of Internet-related innovations to the market.

"The MIIT has always encouraged and supported innovative products based on Internet or mobile Internet services, including WeChat," Zhang said.

WeChat, an app developed by one of China's largest information technology companies, Tencent Holdings Ltd., offers convenient voice messaging and photo transfer services on mobile phones.

The app had over 300 million users by mid-January, according to data from Tencent.

In response to rumors that surfaced last month over whether Tencent might move to charge WeChat users, the company said earlier this month that it will keep the application free of charge.

"The ministry supports and welcomes Tencent's decision," Zhang said.

The government will not interfere in future issues regarding charges for the app, and it has not done so since WeChat was launched in 2011, Zhang said.

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