|Traded as||SEHK: 700|
|Headquarters||Shenzhen, Guangdong, China|
|Key people||Ma Huateng, Chairman|
|Products||Social networks, mass media, web portals, e-commerce, and multiplayer online games|
|Revenue||CN¥ 28,496 million (2011)|
|Operating income||CN¥ 12,099 million (2011)|
|Net income||CN¥ 10,225 million (2011)|
|Total assets||CN¥ 56,804 million (2011)|
|Total equity||CN¥ 29,088 million (2011)|
Tencent Holdings Limited (Chinese: 腾讯控股有限公司，SEHK: 700) is a Chinese investment holding company whose subsidiaries provide mass media, entertainment, Internet and mobile phone value-added services and operate online advertising services in the People's Republic of China. Its headquarters are in Nanshan District, Shenzhen.
Tencent's diverse services include social networks, web portals, e-commerce, and multiplayer online games. It operates the well-known instant messenger Tencent QQ and runs one of the largest web portals in China, QQ.com.
As of December 31, 2010, there were 647.6 million active Tencent QQ IM user accounts, making Tencent QQ the world's largest online community at the time. The number of simultaneously online QQ accounts has sometimes exceeded 100 million.
As of November 2010 the company is the third largest Internet company in the world behind Google and Amazon with a market capitalization of US$38 billion. Other big, Chinese Internet companies include Sina and Baidu.
Tencent was founded by Ma Huateng and Zhang Zhidong in November 1998 as Tencent Inc. Incorporated in the Cayman Islands, initial funding was provided to it by venture capitalists. The company remained unprofitable for the first three years.
South African Naspers purchased a 46% share of Tencent in 2001. (As of 2010, it owns 35%.) During these early years Tencent's iconic messenger product had its name changed from OICQ to QQ; this was said to be due to a (apocryphal) lawsuit from ICQ itself. Others say American Internet company AOL, not ICQ, requested the name change. Tencent Holding Ltd was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 16 June 2004, and it was added as a Hang Seng Index Constituent Stock in 2008.
The company originally derived income solely from advertising and premium users of QQ, who pay monthly fees to receive added extras. But by 2005, charging for use of QQ mobile, its cellular value-added service, and licensing its iconic penguin character, which can be found on snack food and clothing, had also become income generators. And c. 2008 Tencent was seeing profit growth from the sale of virtual goods.
While Tencent's services have included online gaming since 2004, around 2007-2008 it rapidly increased its offerings by licensing South Korean games. At least two, CrossFire and Dungeon and Fighter, were originally produced by South Korean game developers, but Tencent now makes its own games.
Tencent sells virtual goods for use in their MMOs, IM client, social networking sites, and for mobile phones. Income from the sale of virtual goods was a large proportion of Tencent's revenue in 2009. The sort of games Tencent made as of 2010 were on track to remain popular and spin profits until 2012, at least.
Tencent's online currency, Q Coins, can be used to purchase virtual goods. These range from the offbeat, such as virtual pets and the virtual clothing, jewelry, and cosmetics needed to customize online-game avatars, to the more mundane, such as more storage space, wallpapers, bigger photo albums, and ring tones.
Tencent's headquarters are located at the Tencent Building (腾讯大厦 téngxùndàshà) in the Southern Hi-Tech Park District (新科技园 xīnkējìyuán) in Nanshan District, Shenzhen. Other sites include a 48,000 square meter compound that houses an R&D center in the Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, a data and R&D center in Tianjin's Binhai Service Outsourcing Industry Park that is expected to be finished by June 2013, and also some 17,646 square meters of Shanghai office space purchased through a subsidiary, Tencent Cyber (Tianjin), and located in the Shanghai Modern Technology Services Community Zone.
The above list of locations is not exhaustive.
Products and services
Tencent offers a diverse mix of services and counts both consumers and businesses as customers.
QQ instant messenger
Launched in February 1999, and Tencent's most notable product, QQ is one of the most popular instant messaging platforms in its home market. While the IM service is free, a fee is charged for mobile messaging.
An English version of QQ that allows communication with mainland accounts, QQi is available for Window and Mac OSX.
Multiplayer online games
Tencent offers a number of online, multiplayer games through its game portal QQ Games.
These massively multiplayer online games include Dungeon & Fighter, a side-scrolling online fighting game; QQ Fantasy, a 2D online game that incorporates elements from Chinese mythology; Xunxian, a 3D, online RPG; QQ Three Kingdoms, an online casual role playing game set during the historical three kingdoms period; QQ Huaxia, an online RPG; QQ Dancer, an online musical dancing game that offers QQ IM interactivity; QQ Nanaimo, an online game set on a desert island where players maintain houses and pets; QQ Speed, a casual online racing game; QQ R2Beat, an online in-line skating game; QQ Tang, an "advanced casual game" with gameplay derived from Chinese literature; QQ PET, a QQ IM-based desktop virtual pet game and two online first-person shooters; CrossFire and AVA.
In 2008, Tencent released a media player, available for free download, under the name QQ Player.
An online payment system similar to PayPal, it supports B2B, B2C, and C2C payments. In some Chinese cities individuals can use TenPay for utility payments and to refill their public transport cards. Co-branded credit cards are available, and credit card bills can also be paid using the service. Offline recharging of your TenPay account is possible, as the company sends employees to collect customer money in person.
Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Co Ltd
A software development unit that has created, among others, Tencent Traveler and later versions of QQ IM, as well as some mobile software. This subsidiary is located at the Southern District of Hi-Tech Park, Shenzhen. It also holds a number of patents related to instant messaging and massively multiplayer online game gaming.
Many of Tencent's software and services are remarkably similar to those of competitors. The founder and chairman, Huateng "Pony Ma" Ma, famously said, "[To] copy is not evil." A former CEO and President of SINA.com, Wang Zhidong, said, "Pony Ma is a notorious king of copying." Jack Ma of Alibaba Group stated, "the problem in Tencent is no innovation; all things are copies."
As of 2009, the company held 400 patents.
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