Tencent tops Alibaba as China's biggest tech company

19/08/2016

Tencent, the owner of popular social messaging app WeChat, overtook e-commerce giant Alibaba to become China's most valuable technology company on Thursday.

Data compiled by spreadbettor IG, showed Tencent's market capitalisation was at 1.9103 trillion Hong Kong dollars, or around $246.35bn, compared with U.S.-listed Alibaba's market capitalization of $242.04bn.

Out of China's three internet giants, the online gaming and social media company Tencent is now the biggest, but still least known in the West.

Tencent has not attracted the same global attention as its rivals: Alibaba, with charismatic entrepreneur Jack Ma at the helm, and Baidu, the local equivalent of Google.

"Revenues jumped, platforms are booming and it runs the Twitter and Facebook of China," an IG analyst said. "Investors are hoping that, like Facebook, they can turn active users into revenues."

Analysts responded warmly to the earnings, offering a round of target price increases, citing Tencent's bet on dominating the online and mobile gaming space.

On-line gaming produced the bulk of the company's second quarter revenue. That segment's revenue grew 32 percent on-year to 17.124 billion yuan, driven particularly by smartphone games, which saw revenue more than double to 9.6 billion yuan for the quarter.

Analysts cited robust performances from key titles, such as Honor of King and JX Mobile, and pointed to the outlook for more growth ahead.

In June, Tencent deepened its presence in the space by leading a consortium to acquire a majority equity stake in Finnish game-maker Supercell, which produced popular titles such as Clash of Clans and Clash Royale.

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