Skype, Tom Swiftly Make China VoIP Deal
China represents one of Skype’s top three global markets with over 3 million users of its service.
Chinese interactive services provider Tom Online and VoIP provider Skype have extended their 2004 agreement into a joint venture. The new initiative will provide a simplified Chinese version of the Skype software for customers of Tom’s Internet services, ChinaTechNews.com reports.
The move will let Tom integrate Skype’s product with existing wireless services the Chinese portal provides. This includes providing a navigation tab to Tom Online from within the Skype software.
Tom will own 51 percent of the venture, with Skype holding the other 49. Skype makes its software freely available, and charges for a premium version. FT.com cites Skype as observing 27 million of its 51 million global registrants regularly use Skype services in some form.
For the joint venture to offer the premium product, which permits international calls to any telephone, they will have to receive permission from the Chinese government; FT.com lists this as “restrictions in place in the Chinese market.” Skype’s basic product allows for PC to PC calling to other Skype users for free.
VoIP has been a recent focus for the search engine market. Google, Microsoft, MSN, and AOL all currently offer voice chat within their instant messenger clients. The emergence of the pay-per-call advertising model, it is expected that all four will attempt to expand into VoIP in an attempt to further realize more ad revenue.
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.