Move over Facebook, Tencent is now the world’s most valuable social network company
Many people in the United States or outside China probably may never have heard of Tencent. Tencent is a leading provider of Internet value added services in China. For the first time on November 20, 2017, Tencent surpassed Facebook as the world’s most valuable social network company with a market capitalization of $534.5 billion, above that of Facebook at $519.4 billion. Tencent became the first Chinese company to break through the $500 billion mark. As of writing (January 21, 2018), Tencent market capitalization has increased to $557.99 billion with Facebook at $526.79 billion. In Q1 2017, the company had an amazing revenue of $7.12 billion, an increase of 55% over the first quarter of 2016.
Tencent is China’s largest tech company by market cap. The company has a wide range of subsidiaries and strategic partnerships that allow it to do business in a wide range of sectors. In addition to owing China’s leading Internet platforms: QQ (QQ Instant Messenger), WeChat, QQ.com, QQ Games, Qzone, 3g.QQ.com, SoSo, PaiPai, and Tenpay, Tencent also has stakes in Snapchat, Tesla and many Hollywood films. In May, 2017 Tencent surpassed Wells Fargo to enter the world’s top 10 most valuable companies. It is the world’s fourth-largest internet company by revenue.
Founded in November of 1998 by Pony Ma and Zhidong Zhang, Tencent is a Chinese internet service portal offering value-added internet, mobile, telecom, and online advertising services. Since its establishment, The company has maintained steady growth under its user-oriented operating strategies. In 1999, the company launched an instant messaging service named QQ. In April 2000, IDG and PCCW invested a total of $2.2 million dollars in the company. On June 16, 2004, Tencent was listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The company entered into online games market in 2003. On June 16, 2004, Tencent Holdings Limited went public on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
In 2007, it invested more than RMB100 million in setting up the Tencent Research Institute, China’s first internet research institute, with campuses in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. The institute focuses on the self-development of core internet technologies in pursuing its development and innovation goals for the industry. With its R&D staff comprising more than 60% of its employee base, Tencent has obtained patents relating to technologies in various areas such as instant messaging, e-commerce, online payment services, search engine, information security, gaming, and many more.
In September 2013, Tencent’s market valuation rose to $101 billion, and as of November 21, 2013, QQ had 2 billion active users and Wechat had 650 million monthly active users. The numbers of active users for QQ mail, Qzone, Tencent Weibo and QQ news were 274 milion, 626 million, 220 million, and 150 million, respectively. As of March 31, 2017, the monthly active user accounts of QQ was 861 million while its peak concurrent user accounts reached 266 million. Combined monthly active user (MAU) of Weixin and WeChat was 938 million. The development of Tencent has profoundly influenced the ways hundreds of millions of Internet users communicate with one another as well as their lifestyles. It also brings possibilities of a wider range of applications to the China’s Internet industry. Tencent’s major competitors include Baidu, Alibaba, and Netease.