Tencent’s booth is pictured at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) 2017 in Beijing, China April 28, 2017. Source: Reuters

Tencent’s value surpasses half a trillion dollar mark, outpaces Facebook

CHINA’S internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd has become the first Asian company to surpass the US$500 valuation mark, surpassing Facebook in market value on Tuesday.

After Monday’s closing of trading at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Monday with a valuation of HKD3.99 trillion (US$510 billion), Tencent has joined other technology giants like Alphabet, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft that are valued at over half a trillion, according to Tech Spot.

The Shenzen-based conglomerate’s feat was reminiscent of a similar valuation Facebook struck in mid-2012 after launching its IPO and Amazon’s half a trillion milestone after going public in 1997.

According to Tech Spot, Tencent went public in 2004, pricing its shares at HKD3.70 (about US$0.47 at the time) and gradually growing gradually over the next decade.

This means that if one had invested over US$1,700 back in 2004, their shares in the company could be worth US$1 million today.

Since the start of 2017, Tencent’s stock prices doubled, owing its success to the widespread popularity of its mobile messaging app, WeChat, which boasts nearly one billion users in China and Asia.

A child plays the game ‘Honour of Kings’ by Tencent at home in Dezhou, Shandong province, China. Source: Reuters

Exporting WeChat Pay 

Tencent, which last week reported forecast-beating quarterly results, is also close to making Malaysia the first foreign country to roll out its WeChat ecosystem.

An executive told Reuters the move pits Shenzhen-based Tencent against rival Alibaba Group as they scramble for new growth opportunities outside China.

“Malaysia is actually quite large in the sense that we have 20 million WeChat users, huge potential, and the market is quite warm towards internet products from China,” the executive said.

Southeast Asia, home to more than 600 million people and some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, has been a key battleground for China’s tech titans fighting for deals. Ethnic Chinese make up more than a fifth of Malaysia’s population.

WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s Alipay, which dominate China’s digital payment market, have sought to expand their global footprint, although that push has so far been limited to payment services for Chinese outbound tourists.

They can scan-and-pay for purchases in 34 countries or regions via Alipay and 13 via WeChat Pay, according to the companies.

Additional reporting by Reuters