China's Tencent buys Google-backed social networking firm

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The Independent Tech

Mainland Internet company Tencent Holdings has bought Google-backed Chinese social networking firm Comsenz for more than 60 million dollars, the companies and a media report said.

Tencent, based in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, will seek to link accounts from Comsenz's Discuz! platform to its popular instant messaging service QQ, the firms said in a statement.

Investors in Beijing-based Comsenz, which makes software for posting messages on websites, include Google and two US venture capital firms - Sequoia Capital and Morningside Ventures.

The two companies did not disclose the value of the deal but a report carried in the China Business News said it was worth more than 60 million dollars, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

China has the world's largest Internet population with around 420 million users, according to official figures.

Neither Tencent or Comsenz have specified the size of Google's investment in the social networking firm.

The acquisition came after Google said earlier this year it would no longer bow to government censors and effectively shut down its mainland search engine, re-routing mainland users to its uncensored site in Hong Kong.

As well as QQ, Hong Kong-listed Tencent operates various online services, including games, web portal QQ.com, search engine soso.com and a mobile portal.

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