Tencent 腾讯, the world’s fourth largest internet company, has launched an English version of its cloud storage platform Weiyun 微云. New users are welcomed with a whopping 10 terabyte (10242 gigabyte) of free storage, matching Alibaba’s Cloud Storage offer (Chinese only) and effectively beating every possible Western competitor out there, including Microsoft, Google and Dropbox.

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Weiyun actually launched as early as June 2012, but the launch has received very little English-language media coverage, mostly because the service was until recently only available in Chinese. This has changed now, as Tencent translated its web-version of Weiyun and launched it together with their ongoing 10 TB opening offer. Getting it, however, may be a little daunting to people who do not read Chinese. Tencent has provided a guide for its new international customers: new users need to sign up for a free Tencent QQ account (in English), then download the (Chinese-language only) Weiyun app to their iPhone or Android phone and log in, and subsequently return to the website to claim their 10 terabyte welcome offer. Finally they can log in to the Weiyun English web interface and start toying around with the service.

Functionality

Unfortunately, the English web interface is still a few steps behind the Chinese-language version: there is no search function, no automatic subdivision of media types and it doesn’t support drag-and-drop uploading. The only way to upload multiple files at a time is manually selecting file by file or to use the Chinese-language web interface, the mobile app, or the Windows/Mac clients (all in Chinese).

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Images sorted by date taken in Weiyun Windows client

If you do read Chinese, however, using the Windows or Mac client is surprisingly simple. Simply drag-and-drop files you want to upload and that’s it. The software will automatically determine media type and classify your files accordingly. Pictures can optionally be shown by date taken. If so desired, you can also create subgroups for your pictures.

Sharing files is also ridiculously easy via a short URL or via QR Code support which is integrated in the app, the client and the (Chinese) web interface. Just scan the code with your phone and you have instant access to whatever file your friend shared. Finally, there’s also a DropBox-like piece of software that keeps a dedicated folder on your PC synchronised with your Weiyun storage.

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Share through QR Code from the Weiyun App

The only thing missing that would make Weiyun the ultimate home theatre storage solution is the ability to stream from the cloud: at the time of writing, it is still necessary to download the entire movie before you can start watching. Still, as Weiyun is a Chinese solution and connections from within the mainland are therefore unhindered by the Great Firewall, your documents and media download as fast as your copper (or fibre) allows.

Upload large files in just seconds

There may seem to be little innovative about this new platform. Yet one of the most interesting things about Weiyun is the technology behind it. When you upload large files, the software simply scans them (taking just under a minute for a 5 GB file), and then determines if another user has already uploaded identical data to his or her Weiyun space. If so, the file becomes immediately available to you: no need to waste time, data and bandwidth. Uploading my entire Doctor Who collection is now a matter of minutes, not days.

Weiyun Synch Tool
Weiyun Sync Tool

Although there is no documentation on how this works, I’m guessing that it’s done by generating an unique identifier for the file and then matching it with stored data among all Weiyun users. If this is true, you could potentially make any file appear in your Weiyun drive without owning it, simply by feeding the software the corresponding unique identifier hash. This is just my theory, it’ll take a better programmer to verify and exploit this. Even though you don’t upload the actual file if it already exists in another user’s Weiyun, it will still register as taking up space in yours.

Caveats

10 terabyte of free online storage, coupled with great software and killer upload and download speeds. Too good to be true? Perhaps. Another thing the good folks at Tencent haven’t bothered translating for their newly acquired English-speaking audience, is the Terms of Service. With sensitive matters like 10 TB of your personal data, it’s probably a good thing to read through such important documents. I had a quick scan through the Chinese version and came up with the following caveats:

Tencent won’t be too shy to gather personal details from the data you upload, it will share them with the government if the government asks for it, and it is allowed to make any such details public. In addition, Tencent reserves the right to cancel the service for individual or all users at any time and cannot be held responsible for any loss of data due to whatever cause. In short: even though Tencent is a solid company with sufficient government backing and loads of cash (it’s larger than Facebook!), your data is not guaranteed safe from disaster. It’s a free service and for free services applies: if you’re not paying for it, you are delivering the product.

38 thoughts on “China innovation: Weiyun’s 10TB Cloud Storage”

  1. Hi for some reason I can’t upload anymore files to my weiyun storage.

    All I keep getting is

    File failed to transfer!!!

  2. This started happening when I hit 20GB in upload.

    Though I tried to upload again today and it letme upload some then stopped again.

    To me there looks like they’ve put a daily upload limit on it.

  3. No, this happens 3 days ago and i cant upload any files anymore through the programs.
    Maybe a problem from weiyun servers. I hope they resolve this fast, i have uploads to do and can’t wait much longer. :(

  4. I have just tried the power uploader and it worked install the 32GB power uploader and see if that fixes your problem.

    1. They started capping the daily maximum upload. Does anyone know what’s the daily limit? I, too, have quite a few things I would like to upload and would like to have as much information as possible.

  5. I tried the power upload and is the same thing.
    Now its says that i have reached the upload limit for today, and i upload only 3 files less than 700mb, i will try with a larger files tomorrow. But this sucks Tecent.

  6. The power uploader works just fine there is no daily limit when using it. You have to use your browser when uploading using the power uploader and not the PC client.

  7. i tried this so that i can store my excess video files.. but i can’t upload any of it successfully.. but when i tried other file types, it works just fine.. need a little help here..

  8. now the web upload limits the daily amount, too. but idk what’s the daily amount. i think it could be smth between 1 and 2 GB…

  9. It’s not working at all for me. I followed all the steps but once I started uploading they decided I hadn’t followed the steps and tell me to download the app. I already did! And they say I’m not signed in with my QQ details. I am!

    Goddamn it, Tencent. I hate complaining about free stuff but what a joke.

  10. Same here, I’m sorry to say. Looks like around a 2Gb limit, though if they’re going by number of files then its three. And yes, this is a letdown. Fact is that okay, it’s free, but if they offer a free service and you start to use it for something time consuming – as I am in trying to back up around 1Tb of data in total – then it’s a lot of time wasted if the service has to be abandoned in the end. Free should still be professional. Let’s face it, with a 2Gb daily upload limit, 10Tb is rendered meaningless. To take up that 10Tb would mean uploading every day for the best part of twenty years(!)

  11. Same here, I can’t upload any more files and I didn’t know it was a general problem till I decided to look it up to see what was going wrong. I have a long list of uploads to make. Dearly hope they fix this issue soon

  12. It’s not working with the windows client but it’s working with the web browser..

    It’s not working with google chrome but if you use Internet Explorer, il should work!

  13. I think any movie files have been disabled.
    I have tried to zip it first then it works. I can upload the zipped movie files with no drama at all.

  14. I can only upload photos onto my cloud! Help! I’ve tried to upload mp3 and mp4 files… But they don’t work!! Does anyone have a solution?

  15. I am having one devil of a time uploading via the web page…this is on a linux box so there is no web client, but I’d like to sync some files from my 360 cloud to my Tencent. Downloaded to a linux box with the intention of uploading to Weiyun, but I can’t even get a 90M file uploaded.

    Thoughts or suggestions?

  16. Thank you for making the |English version of the Tencent storage site available. I truly appreciate it. I noticed that on top of this page you had some links for more English content but unfortunately they do not work properly. Could you please send me the new updated site locations.
    Thank you again.

  17. Am I correct that now, regardless of the size of available cloud space, only 1G/day may be uploaded into Weiyun? So much for “Be the Best,” for heaven’s sake…I wanted to use the 10T I have there to backup the stuff I have in 360, but at 1G/day it’ll take something like six months!

  18. I am unable to log on, through the browser. the sign in screen disappears after a quick flash. Any help would be appreciated.

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