Chinese web giant Tencent has begun compensating some users for cutting them off from its QQ messaging service in its dispute with anti-virus provider Qihoo.
It has reportedly offering compensating in its own online currency, Q coins, for some users who have had to uninstall the software, sina.comreports.
The compensation is limited to “red diamond” and yellow diamond” members and “green diamond” music service users, offering 10 Q coins for each service lost – equivalent to the monthly subscription fee Tencent charges for each service.
Q coins, sold by Tencent for 1 yuan each, are widely accepted as virtual currency online in China.
Users can gain compensation by calling Tencent and registering and will receive compensation three working days later, Sina said.
Tencent has made no public announcement about the compensation. Customer service staff told Sina there would be no other compensation.
In a sign of the sensitivity of the online dispute – in which Tencent has cut off millions of users who deploy Qihoo’s 360 antivirus software – China's propaganda chiefs have ordered news outlets to be “cautious” in their coverage.
The China Digital Times website says journalists have been forbidden to report on any QQ groups being shut down.