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How to use QQ?



Kaven Yuan and Dennis Ming Nichols

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About China

In an effort to educate you about Chinese social media, we’ll introduce you to the most popular online messaging software and how you can use it.

When I meet new Chinese friends and we decide we want to stay in touch, I never get asked for my business card, my email address, or my phone number anymore. Nowadays, young people and businesses alike are using QQ. I realize its time for me and all of us other expats to get on the bandwagon!

What is QQ?

QQ is a most China’s favorite free online instant message software. It was developed by a company called Tencent. With the number of online users over 100 million people every day, QQ’s various features and easy-to-use interface have made it become the first choice for real-time chatting with your friends, family and workmates in China.

There are two versions of QQ, the International Version and the Chinese Version. Both operate the same and your unique user ID will operate under either version of the software. The only difference is that the Chinese version has more options. Unless you really want to challenge your Chinese reading skills, we suggest just going with the International English version. If you want to use the Chinese version, click here to download a PDF with detailed information on how to do that.

International website:
Chinese website:

Where to get QQ (international version)?

Visit, click the “Download” button (currently you have to click though a button that says “Learn More” then you can download). The program will download onto your desktop or downloads folder as an .EXE file. Click the .EXE and follow the steps one by one. Pretty basic stuff.

The latest international edition Beta3 offers 3 languages, English, Japanese, and French and fits Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 systems.

So now you have the QQ program installed, but you still need a user ID.

Run QQ and click “Sign Up.” Fill out the form and you will be given a verification email. When you respond to the verification email, you will get a unique ID which is a series of numbers. Then you can successfully sign in to your account. You can change the interface to fit your own taste.

Basic Usage
QQ works the same as any other chat program (gchat, msn, aim). Click “Search Contacts” at the bottom to add your friends’ unique id (username or that series of numbers). You can video or audio chat and send files directly though the QQ program. It also includes social tools and expandable third-party applications. The International version is not confusing and with a little poking around will be well on your way to adding contacts and having great chats with your friends.

Web Version (not-install)
If you are using a public or work computer without QQ installed, you can still chat with friends on the web-based version of the program. Visit, sign in with your id and password and you can enjoy the same basic chatting functions as you would normally.

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