Tencent the first Asian company in US$500b club: Things to know about the firm

Hong Kong-listed Internet giant Tencent saw its shares rally to HK$420 (S$73) on Monday (Nov 20).
Hong Kong-listed Internet giant Tencent saw its shares rally to HK$420 (S$73) on Monday (Nov 20). PHOTO: REUTERS

The Hong Kong-listed Internet giant Tencent, known for its WeChat messaging app and online games, saw its shares rally to HK$420 (S$73) on Monday (Nov 20).

This brought its market value to HK$3.99 trillion at the close, making it the first Asian company to cross the US$500 billion (S$680 billion) mark - more valuable than Facebook and within touching distance of Amazon, according to CNBC.

Here are some things to know about the firm:

1. Origins of name

The company's full name in Mandarin is "Tengxun Konggu Youxian Gongsi", which means "soaring information".

2. The man at the centre of it all

Tencent is headed by Mr Ma Huateng, who co-founded the company in 1998.

At 46, he is China's richest man and also the richest in Asia, with a net worth of US$48.4 billion.

3. The Ma-ther of all giants

Tencent's market cap is above Jack Ma's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, which stands at US$474.15 billion.

4. Gamer instincts

A child plays the game Honour of Kings by Tencent at home in Dezhou, Shandong province, China. PHOTO: REUTERS

In late March 2014, Tencent paid US$500 million for a 28 per cent stake in Korean mobile games firm CJ Games Corp.

In June that year, a Tencent-led consortium also bought an 84 per cent stake in Clash of Clans creator Supercell, for US$8.6 billion.

5. Tencent video and chill?

Tencent Video is among China's top three streaming sites, with five billion broadcasts monthly.

It has adopted the Netflix formula of licensing and creating premium content, and has acquired 140 domestic dramas, more than 2,500 hours of Western drama and creating 500 original dramas.

6. Political animal

The game allows hundreds of millions of smartphone users to retroactively applaud President Xi Jinping's more than three-hour opening speech by tapping their phone screens. PHOTO: AFP

For the 19th National Party Congress, Tencent released a mobile game called "Clap for Xi Jinping: An Awesome Speech".

In the game, players have 19 seconds to clap as many times as possible for Xi.

Tencent also hires more than 7,000 active Communist Party members, with 60 per cent of them holding leading technical positions.


7. Popular kid


Across all its mobile apps, Tencent has more than a billion active mobile app users.

Its WeChat is the most popular mobile app in China and the third-largest mobile app in the world, after Facebook and WhatsApp, with about 500 million active users every month.

8. Originality is over-rated

Tencent boss Ma Huateng once famously said: "(To) copy is not evil."

The company's software and services have been criticised for being pretty similar to its competitors'.

9. The Swiss army knife of messaging apps

A display at the Citron booth promotes WeChat Pay and Alipay during the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on Oct 24, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Tencent's popular WeChat app began simply as a messaging app, but has since gone on to integrate commerce, banking, stock trading, and even for hailing cabs and buying movie tickets.