Tencent - All You Need to Know

Tencent - All You Need to Know

While the Govt of India is banning China made apps, and products, and we the people of India have started to apply the philosophy of 'Chini Kam' (i.e the philosophy of less to no Chinese goods) in our lives, more we have started to realize that there are indeed many Indian companies that have received investments from Chinese companies. A recent report lists 92 major Indian startups that has received funding from Chinese companies. Today we are speaking of such a Chinese company that has invested in many popular Indian companies, and it is none other than Tencent.

Tencent, which started off  in 1998, launched its first product (a PC based instant messaging service) in 1999, has grown into a much well known and profit making conglomerate today. It has established itself as one of the world's largest video game company, world's largest social media company, world's largest venture capital firms, investment corporation  and a market leader across diverse industries. Let's take a look into the some interesting facts and figures about Tencent.

About Tencent
Tencent - Company Highlights
Tencent - Founders & Team
Tencent - History
Tencent - Name & Logo
Tencent - Investments in India
Tencent - Funding & Investors
Tencent - Revenue Model
Tencent - Competitors
Tencent - Growth & Revenue
Tencent - Future Plans

About Tencent

Tencent Holdings Limited is a Chinese Multinational Conglomerate which almost has acquisitions in every corner of the business world. With minimum of four globally owned enterprises, and hundreds of subsidiaries and associates in various industries, Tencent has its presence across various business verticals including retail, e-commerce, search engine, real estate, video gaming, software, virtual reality, ride sharing, banking & financial services, fintech, consumer electronics, computer technology, automobile, movie ticketing, film production, music production, space technology, natural resources, big data, smart phones, agriculture, medical services, cloud computing, social media, IT, advertising, streaming media, AI, robotics, food delivery, courier services, e-book, education, renewable energy etc.

Some of the main subsidiaries include Tencent Industry Win-Win Fund, Tencent Public Space, Tencent Industry Collaboration Fund, Tencent Research Institute, and Tencent Technology Co Limited. The company has also started its operations in an insurance stream known as WeSure Internet Insurance Limited.

Tencent - Company Highlights

Startup Name Tencent
Headquarters Shenzhen, China
Sector Advertising, Gaming, Social Media Marketing
Founders Ma Huateng, Zhang Zhidong, Xu Chenye, Chen Yidan, and Zeng Liqing
Founded 1998
Parent Organization Tencent Holdings Limited
Website www.tencent.com

Tencent - Founders & Team

Ma Huateng, along with his classmates from Shenzhen University, Zhang Zhidong, Xu Chenye, Chen Yidan, and Zeng Liqing are the Tencent founders. The company operates with Ma Huateng as the CEO and has more than 10000 employees.

Named as one of the world's most influential and powerful person, and as a top businessman by many organizations, Tencent founder and CEO Ma Huateng, has also been declared as China's richest man (as of June 2020) by Forbes. Born on 29th October 1971, Huateng has a B Sc in computer science. After graduating, Ma Huateng worked with China Motion Telecom Development, where he developed software for pagers, and earned $176/ month (Today Ma Huateng's net worth is $51.2 Billion) . He later worked for Shenzhen Runxun Communications Co. Ltd, where he was into developing internet calling services. He started his own entrepreneurial venture, Tencent in 1998.

Tencent co-founder Zhang Zhidong is the second largest individual shareholder of Tencent. Also a graduate in computer science, Zhang's net-worth is $12.6 billion as of June 2019, as reported by Forbes.

Xu Chenye is the Chief information officer at Tencent. Before joining Tencent, Chenye worked with Shenzhen Data Telecommunications Bureau, where he took care of software system design, network administration and also marketing and sales management.

Chen Yidan served as the Chief Administrative Officer of Tencent till 2013. Chen is currently associated with Tencent as an advisor, sponsor and honorary chairman of the Tencent Charity Foundation. Chen is also a part of the founding team of Wuhan College.

Zeng Liqing, worked as the Chief Operating Officer of Tencent since 1999 to 2007. Currently Zeng Liqing is the Advisor Emeritus of Tencent. Besides Tencent, Zeng also co-founded Taomee Holdings Ltd ( a company producing children's entertainment products) and Shenzhen Dexun Investment Co., Ltd. Prior to Tencent, Zeng worked as Manager in the Shenzhen Branch of China Telecom Corporation Limited from 1993 to 1999.

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Tencent - History

Started in 1998, Tencent launched its first product QQ (a PC based instant messaging service) in 1999. For the the first 3 years, the company was in losses. In 2001, 'Naspers', a South African Media company purchased 41.6% shares in Tencent. The company ventured into online gaming since 2004. In 2004 itself, Tencent was also listed on Hong Kong Stock Exchange. While QQ was earlier available for PC only, in 2005, QQ for mobile was also launched by Tencent. In 2011, Tencent entered the social media app market with 'Weixin' ( Now known as WeChat). Also, in 2005, online payment system 'TenPay' was launched by Tencent. Tencent launched its search engine Soso.com in 2006. In 2007, Tencent Research Institute ( China's first research center on core Internet technologies) was started. Gradually the company acquired stakes in various businesses to accelerate its growth and also entered diverse industries from music to e-commerce and many others to reach its current position.

As per some reports, Tencent derives its name from two Chinese characters 'Teng' and 'Xun' which means something like 'galloping fast information'

The logo of the company contains both the English and Chinese font of the name ‘Tencent’.

Tencent Logo
Tencent - Logo

Tencent - Investments in India

Tencent has emerged as the biggest investor in Indian startups. Tencent has invested in 15 Indian companies - Dream 11, Hike, Swiggy, Flipkart, Practo, Ola, Gaana, PolicyBazaar, Udaan, Byju's.

Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent has invested $62.8 million in Walmart-owned e-commerce firm Flipkart. Tencent remains the second-biggest shareholder in the e-commerce marketplace Flipkart, increasing its stake from 5% to 5.34% and worth $1.21 billion post the latest investment made through its Singapore based subsidiary Aceville.

Tencent Invested in Gaana through its European subsidiary Tencent Cloud. In April 2020, India also tightened the approval process for foreign direct investment from any country with which it shares a border. Even after that, Tencent has continued investing in Indian startups through its subsidiaries out of China. Tencent is present in e-commerce, gaming, logistics, education, fintech and more with investments in

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Tencent - Funding & Investors

Tencent Holdings has raised a funding amount of $6.6 Bilion in 5 rounds.

Date Stage Amount Investors
January 1999 Angel Round $200K -
April 2000 Seed Round $220K PCCW, IDG Capital
May 2001 Venture Round $32M Prosus and Naspers
June 2018 Post IPO Equity $44.4M Lippo Group
August 2019 Post IPO Debt $6.5B -

Tencent - Revenue Model

Operating in diverse industries, Tencent has a diverse source of revenue. Majority of Tencent's revenue comes from in app purchases, from subscription fees on its platform like Tencent Video. The company also earns online transaction free from  its payment service ' WeChat Pay'. Besides, the company also earns from digital ads run on its various platforms.

The Tencent revenue is generated through millions of micro transactions. They have adopted the VAS model. The value added services is their main stream of revenue. It is available on their social media platforms, gaming platforms and mobile games. For an example customers can pay for fancy weapons and costumes for their avatars in the game. Other sources of Tencent are digital content subscription, membership subscription, advertisement, and online games. It is clear that Tencent does not rely on advertising revenue.

Tencent - Competitors

The top competitors of Tencent are the Alibaba Group, Sina, NetEase, Baidu, Unix CCTV, Facebook and Sohu. Tencent continues to lead the global market with its diligent network and growing technology.

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Tencent - Growth & Revenue

Tencent has a huge and sturdier global connection in various fields. In FY19, the company experienced a steady growth with a revenue of RMB 377.3 Billion, while its revenue was 312.7 billion RMB in FY 2018.

As reported, till January 2020, Tencent Holdings Limited invested in over 800 firms across the world, of which, 70 are listed companies and 160 are Unicorns. Tencent has acquired 16 companies till date.

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Tencent - Future Plans

Tencent has announced its plan of building a ‘Net City’ in Shenzhen. The Net City will cover an area of 320 acres that will provide sustainable power sources. As per plans, 'Net City' will be entirely car free, and will have plenty of green spaces and walking space for pedestrians, besides, self driving vehicles. Apart from this, the company is working towards improvising its every possible sector, especially in gaming and e-commerce. The tech giant plans to invest US$ 70 billion in high tech areas.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

When was Tencent founded?

Tencent was founded in 1998.

Who is the owner of Tencent?

Ma Huateng is the CEO of Tencent.

What are some of the Indian companies that received funding from Tencent?

Dream 11, Hike, Swiggy, Flipkart, Practo, Ola, Gaana, PolicyBazaar, Udaan, Byju's are some Indian companies that have recieved funding from Tencent.

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