This enigmatic Chinese company is worth over $500 billion

Tencent Holdings positions itself as a social network company, but really, they’re much more. It was the first Asian firm to surpass a market value of $500 billion. It is now the world’s fifth most valuable company, surpassing Facebook. It is one of the three biggest internet companies in China: Baidu and Alibaba, being the other two. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are popularly referred to as BAT, and are the hypothetical antagonists to Silicon Valley’s FANG: Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google.

Tencent Holdings owns WeChat (which has around 980 million active users worldwide), the Chinese version of WhatsApp, but they also have their fingers in several other pies – including strategic investments in Snap, the company behind Snapchat, Lyft and Tesla and even Hollywood films. Through WeChat, users can shop, call for a taxi, make investments, order a meal and more. Like we said, they’re much more than a social network company.


1. Tencent’s boss is richer than Jack Ma

Tencent’s 46-year-old CEO, Ma Huateng who goes by the nickname “Pony”, according to Forbes, has a net worth of $49 billion (well over that of Alibaba Jack Ma’s net worth of $40 billion). For a brief period in November last year, he shot into the list of the top ten richest men on earth, richer than the Google founders and also the first Asian to break into the top ten. But don’t rule him out altogether just yet. He’s only $3 billion shy of Michael Bloomberg who currently hold spot No. 10 on the list.

Kong: Skull Island

2. Tencent’s shaking up the entertainment business

Tencent has a Netflix-styled video service in China called Tencent Video which boasts of exclusive content including Game of Thrones and NFL games. It also has 40 million paying subscribers. Tencent Music is projected to make $10 billion market listing this year. In December, Tencent’s music arm bought a minority stake in Spotify, while the latter returned the favour too. Tencent Pictures meanwhile has invested into STX Entertainment which has produced movies like Bad Moms and All the Money in the World, and also financed Kong: Skull Island.


3. It’s the world’s most valuable gaming company

Its Honour of Kings and League of Legends games are already massive hits. Honour of Kings reportedly earns a $1 billion a quarter and has over 200 million monthly players. It ended up being so addictive, that Tencent installed in-game controls which allowed children under the age of 12 to use it for only for one hour a day, while those between 12-18 can use it for two hours every day.

To understand how wildly popular Tencent’s games are, sample this: In December, it introduced a new game called Tiao yi tiao and hooked on 100 million daily active users in the first two weeks since the game debuted.

In 2016, they bought Finish gaming company, Supercell, for $8.6 billion. Supercell is the firm behind games likes Clash of Clans and Clash Royale. It’s has picked up stakes in Californian gaming company Epic which made Gears of War and another Santa Monica gaming giant, Activision Blizzard, who have debuted games like World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Candy Crush Saga.

The defining moment for Tencent though will be taking its Honour of Kings game to the US market. It has already added superhero figures like Wonder Woman, Batman and other DC Comics Hero, apart from renaming it as Arena of Valor to make it more palatable to Western tastes. With Tencent, it’s always game on.