you can do almost anything you want now on just one single device.But in china ,well ,you can do almost anything you want on just one single app.And the company behind it all is tencent.Not only is it China’s biggest social network,but its the largest gaming company in the world.And now it’s the fifth largest internet company on the planet.
It’s joined Apple,Amazon and facebook on the list of massive tech companies that have passed $500 billion dollars in market cap, making it first company to do this.Just a day later,Tencent actually surpassed Facebook in market value.So what’s behind this massive conglomerate coming out of china?
Tencent is a chinese investment holding conglomerate with many,many,many subsidiaries.They include social networks,payment systems,media,entertainment,smartphones,e-commerce,property,advertising.and there’s still more.The company stock is up more than 11,000 percent since it went public in 2004 on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.And if you have ever said the words,”Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an app that could…”
Chances are,Tencent already has it.
At the centre of giant conglomerate is one app WEIXIN known as WE CHAT outside of china think of it like a facebook meets whatsapp,meets Venmo and candycrush and tinder and amazon. And then there’s still other functions like booking a doctor’s appointment or finding out how densely crowded a location is.
The number of people on WeChat is now closing in on one billion users.
So how did WeChat become so popular?
You often hear about mobile-first markets.In the U.S ,Back in 1999,there were about 50 computers for every 100 people.In china, there was about one computer for every 100 people.That means most people in china first became acquainted with internet through the smartphone.
Fast forward to today,where the total number of mobile users is approaching the same number of total internat users.Now,using an email address is pretty rare for chinese consumers.The prefered way to communicate is chat apps.And its not just for friends and family..Its a common way for people to do business,using tha app with colleagues and even strangers,too.
If you go back to the early 2000s, you’ll see Tencent anticipated chat app popularity .
And it paid off
Ma Huateng and his co-founders started Tencent in Shenzhen,China tech capital in 1998.The company was created to meet the demand of china’s Growing internet cafes,and made most of its early money from online games and a text messaging service.Now,Ma Huateng is the country’s second richest man and worth an estimated $42.3 billion.Thats more than the founders of google,making him the world’s ninth richest man.
And he can thank Tencent’s enormous footprint for that wealth.Tencent has acquired and invested so many comapnies its almost impossible to figure it out where it starts and where its ends.
First,there’s the social networks.In addition to WeChat,there’s QQ,with more than 861 million monthly active users.For some perspective,thats more than instagram .Then there’s the multiple digital payment platform it claims and WeChat pay be its first foray outside of china.
Entertainment is also a big part of it ,Tencent is also a actually the biggest gaming publisher in the world bigger than U.S game publisher EA Arts and activision Blizzard combined.And that’s not enough,there its information and news portals,its cloud providers,and its recent move into Artificial Intelligence too.
Like its rival Alibaba,Tencent now has its eyes beyond china’s 1.4 billion people.The company has invested in American Companies including tech juggernauts Tesla and snapchat.And its even invested in companies that are testing Flying cars and asteroid mining.
The company announced it will roll out its WeChat payment services in malaysia after it gained an e-payment license.Its the first time the company has gained a license like this to expand outside of china.
Tencent is also planning to get its massively popular video game,King of Glory, Into the U.S.
As its Known,Western companies have a hard time getting into china.But things aren’t much easier for chinese internet companies trying to expand globally. But if Tencent continues to grow and break records at its current pace,well,it could put it head-to-head with some of silicon valley’s biggest names.
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