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You can do almost anything you want now on just one single device.
But in China, well, you can do almost anything you want on just one single app.
And the company behind it all is Tencent.
Not only is it China's biggest social network, but it's the largest gaming company in the world.
And now it's the fifth largest internet company on the planet.
It's joined Apple, Amazon, and Facebook on the list of massive tech companies that
have passed $500 billion dollars in market cap, making it Asia's first company to do this.
Just a day later, Tencent actually surpassed Facebook in market value.
So what's behind this massive conglomerate coming out of China?
Tencent is a Chinese investment holding conglomerate with many, many, many subsidiaries.
They include social networks, payment systems, media, entertainment,
smartphones, e-commerce, property, advertising. And there's still more.
The company's stock is up more than 11,000 percent
since it went public in 2004 on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
And if you have ever said the words, "Wouldn't it be nice if there was an app that could..."
Chances are, Tencent already has it.
At the center of the giant conglomerate is one app, Weixin, known as WeChat outside of China.
Think of it like a Facebook meets WhatsApp, meets Venmo, and CandyCrush, and Tinder, and Amazon.
And then there's still other functions
like booking a doctor's appointment, or finding out how densely crowded a location is.
The number of people on WeChat is now closing in on one billion users.
So how did WeChat become so popular?
You often hear about the mobile-first markets.
In the U.S., back in 1999, there were about 50 computers for every 100 people.
In China, there was about one computer for every 100 people.
That means most people in China first became acquainted with the internet through this device.
Fast forward to today, where the total number of mobile users is approaching the same number
of total internet users. Now, using an email address is pretty rare for Chinese consumers.
The preferred way to communicate is chat apps. And it's not just for friends and family.
It's a common way for people to do business, using the app with colleagues and even strangers, too.
If you go back to the early 2000s, you'll see Tencent anticipated chat apps' popularity.
And it's paid off.
Ma Huateng and his co-founders started Tencent in Shenzhen, China's tech capital, back in 1998.
The company was created to meet the demand of China's growing internet cafes,
and made most of its early money from online games and a text messaging service.
Now, Ma Huateng is the country's second richest man and worth an estimated $42.3 billion.
That's more than the founders of Google, making him the world's ninth richest man.
And he can thank Tencent's enormous footprint for that wealth.
Tencent has acquired and invested in so many companies, it's almost impossible to figure out
where it starts and where it ends.
First, there's the social networks. In addition to WeChat, there's QQ,
with more than 861 million monthly active users. For some perspective, that's more than Instagram.
Then there's the multiple digital payment platforms it claims
and WeChat Pay may be its first foray outside of China.
Entertainment is also a big part of it. Tencent is actually the biggest computer game publisher in the world,
bigger than U.S. game publisher EA Arts and Activision Blizzard combined.
And if that's not enough, there's its information and news portals, its cloud providers,
and its recent move into artificial intelligence too.
Like its rival Alibaba, Tencent now has its eyes beyond China's 1.4 billion people.
The company has invested in American companies including tech juggernauts Tesla and Snapchat.
And it's even invested in companies that are testing out flying cars and asteroid mining.
The company announced it will roll out its WeChat payment services in Malaysia
after it gained an e-payment license.
It's the first time the company has gained a license like this to expand outside of China.
Tencent is also planning to get its massively popular video game, King of Glory, into the U.S.
As it's known, Western companies have a hard time getting into China.
But things aren't much easier, for Chinese internet companies trying to expand globally.
But if Tencent continues to grow and break records at its current pace,
well, it could put it head-to-head with some of Silicon Valley's biggest names.
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What is Tencent? | CNBC Explains

209 Folder Collection
PENG published on February 25, 2019
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