For many Internet users in China, instant messaging via QQ is one of the first experiences they have online.  As a result, Tencent's trademark instant messaging brand QQ is home to an estimated 341 million active users and 80% of the market.

While IM-ing has traditionally been one of the most frequently used applications online, David Feng points out a growing trend among Chinese netizens to log-on as invisible.  An online IT forum explains the reasons why:

Whenever people find their friends on an IM app, they think they’re forced to greet everyone on the list As is increasingly the case in the Chinese workplace, more and more people are getting introvert — they don’t open their hearts out, so why do this on the Web? People hide because they feel too tired or lazy People have nothing to say Users greet each other, and then — what’s next? More often than not, people feel even more lonely after being greeted online

techblog86: The Mass Invisible-ization of QQ Users: Why The Masses Choose To Be Invisible

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