|Traded as||SEHK: 700|
|Founded||November 12, 1998|
|Headquarters||Shenzhen, Guangdong, China|
|Worldwide (mainly Greater China)|
(Chairman & CEO)
|Products||Social networks, mass media, web portals, e-commerce, web browser, Antivirus software and multiplayer online games|
|Revenue||CN¥78.932 billion (2014)|
|CN¥30.542 billion (2014)|
|CN¥23.888 billion (2014)|
|Total assets||CN¥171.166 billion (2014)|
|Total equity||CN¥82.124 billion (2014)|
Number of employees
|26,962 (Dec 2013)|
|Subsidiaries||Riot Games, Epic Games|
|Tencent Holdings Limited|
Tencent Holdings Limited (Chinese: 腾讯控股有限公司; SEHK: 700) is a Chinese investment holding company whose subsidiaries provide media, entertainment, internet and mobile phone value-added services, and operate online advertising services in China. Its headquarters are in Nanshan District, Shenzhen.
Tencent's many services include social network, web portals, e-commerce, and multiplayer online games. Its offerings include the well-known (in China) instant messenger Tencent QQ and one of the largest web portals in China, QQ.com. Mobile chat service WeChat has helped bolster Tencent's continued expansion into smartphone services.
- 1 History
- 2 Virtual goods
- 3 Locations
- 4 Products and services
- 5 Subsidiaries and significant investments
- 6 Impropriety
- 7 Investments
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
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 media company Naspers purchased a 46% share of Tencent in 2001. (As of 2014, it owns 34%.) 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 the 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 games. While least two, CrossFire and Dungeon and Fighter, were originally produced by South Korean game developers, Tencent now makes its own games.
Recently, Tencent partnered with Apple and Twitter to provide enterprise cloud services, as well as IBM to provide SaaS services to SME's.
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.
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 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. 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 QQ accounts simultaneously online has sometimes exceeded 100 million.
While the IM service is free, as of 2006 a fee was being charged for mobile messaging.
An English version of QQ that allows communication with mainland accounts, QQi is available for Windows and Mac OSX.
Multiplayer online games
Tencent used to offer 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 three online first-person shooters; War of Zombie, CrossFire and AVA.
Dididache (滴滴打车), which in Mandarin means “Honk Honk, Catch a Cab”, is a smartphone application which matches passengers and willing taxi drivers who are situated in close proximity. For passengers, a list of nearby taxicabs is created via GPS, and a signal is sent out indicating an expression of interest. Conversely, for taxi drivers with the app installed on their phones, the GPS system quickly lists and localizes nearby potential clients; and once a match is created, the taxi can efficiently pick up awaiting passengers.
Dididache is a dominant player in China's taxi-hailing arena, with a market share exceeding 60% and service extending to 32 cities including the Tier-1 conurbations of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. Dididache in 2014 has 40 million registered users, a doubling from 2013's user base; and every month, more than 21 million cab rides are booked through the service, or 700,000 bookings per day. Additionally, from the taxicab perspective, Dididache already has an extensive user base of taxi drivers of more than 350,000 vehicles across China most of which are BYD.
In 2008, Tencent released a media player, available for free download, under the name QQ Player.
A social networking service and, as of 2008, one of the largest in China.
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.
WeChat has become the most popular app in China.
Subsidiaries and significant investments
On 18 February 2011, Tencent acquired a majority equity interest in Riot Games, developer of League of Legends, for about USD 230 million. Tencent had already 22.34% of the equity interest out of a previous investment in 2008. The Tencent group now owns 92.78% equity interest of Riot Games.
On April 29, 2015 Tencent acquired a minority stake in GLU mobile paying 126 million for 14.6 percent of the company.
On May 13, 2015, Tencent acquired a minority stake in mobile developer Pocket Gems. Acquiring 20 percent of the company for the price of 60 million dollar 
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.
Antimalware software cheating allegations
In 2015, security testing firms AV-Comparatives, AV-TEST and Virus Bulletin jointly decided to strip Tencent of its certifications and rankings from their antimalware software lists. The Tencent products supplied for testing were found to contain optimizations to artificially boost results by skipping white-listed test files, in turn providing more scope for delivering exploits. Additionally, software settings were detrimental to end-users protection if used. Qihoo was later also accused of cheating, while Tencent was accused of actively gaming the antimalware tests.
Tencent recently increased its stake in Kingsoft Network Technology, a subsidiary of Kingsoft Corporation, to 18%. Tencent previously had a 15.68% stake in the company and raised the stake through a USD 46.98 million investment.
On January 15, 2014, Tencent said it will invest HK$1.5 billion ($193.45 million) in logistics and warehouse firm China South City Holdings Ltd to develop its e-commerce and logistics business.
On February 27, 2014, Tencent purchased a 20-percent stake in restaurant ratings and group buying website Dianping for $400 million.
On March 10, 2014, Tencent bought a 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce website JD.com Inc. by paying cash and handing over its e-commerce businesses Paipai, QQ Wanggou and a stake in Yixun to JD.com to build a stronger competitor to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. On May 22, 2014, JD.com got listed on NASDAQ and Tencent expanded its stake in the company to 17.43% on a fully diluted basis by investing an additional US$1,325 million.
On March 27, 2014, it was announced that Tencent has agreed to pay about $500 million for a 28 percent stake in South Korea’s CJ Games.
On June 27, 2014, Tencent announced that it has agreed to buy a 19.9 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce website 58.com (WUBA) Inc. for $736 million. On April 17, 2015, Tencent announced it has bought an additional $400 million worth of shares, rising its stake in the company to about 25%.
On October 16, 2014, and via its wholly held subsidiary Hongze Lake Investment Ltd, Tencent announced that it has bought a 7% stake in lottery technology firm China LotSynergy Holdings Ltd for HKD445.5 million (US$57.4 million).
On October 23, 2014, Tencent pitched in $145 million for a 10 percent stake in Koudai Gouwu, a Chinese mobile shopping portal.
On December 9, 2014, Chinese taxi-hailing app Didi Dache announced that it has raised more than $700 million in funding round lead by Tencent and Singaporean state investment firm Temasek Holdings.
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