Tencent - Company Overview, History, Products

Updated:22 Sep, 2022

Tencent Holdings Limited is one of the largest Chinese multinational companies that is known for its artificial intelligence, entertainment, and holding businesses. Tencent Holdings currently employs more than 110,000 employees and it is currently headquartered in Shenzhen, China. It is one of the largest multimedia companies in the world with the highest revenue. The most popular subsidiaries of Tencent Holdings include Tencent Games which is part of Tencent Interactive Entertainment Group and include PUBG mobile in it.

The CEO of Tencent is Ma Huateng (Pony Ma). It is a Chinese publicly traded company with a market capitalization of more than 800 billion dollars. Tencent Holdings generated revenue of more than 85 billion dollars in the financial year 2021. It became the first company to cross the 500 billion dollar market capital in 2018 and it reached a peak valuation of 1 trillion dollars in January 2021.

Tencent is one of the world's largest video game publishers for smartphones and laptops as well. It is the most financially successful gaming company that owns popular subsidiaries like Miniclip, Supercell, Fatshark, Funcom, Grinding Gear Games, and Riot Games. 

Tencent also holds a huge amount of stake in social media, angel investment, and venture capital firms like WeChat, Tencent QQ, and Tencent Music.

The various production services of Tencent Holdings include the areas of artificial intelligence, e-commerce, gaming, online services, music, social media, messaging, search engines, and cloud computing. Tencent also owns payment services, smartphones, and film production services.

Tencent Holdings Limited - History

Tencent was initially founded by Pony Ma, Zeng Liqing, Charles Chen, Xu Chenye, and Zhang Zhidong in 1998 in the Cayman Islands. In 1999, Tencent launched its first product which was a messaging service called OICQ, whose name was later changed to Tencent QQ. Since Tencent remained unprofitable for 2 years, a South African company called Naspers purchased a huge stake in Tencent in 2001. Later on, Tencent filed for its IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2004.

At that time, the main source of revenue at Tencent was only derived from advertisements and premium subscriptions to the Tencent QQ messaging service. Later on, in 2005, Tencent started to introduce the local cellular telecommunication services as well as licensing its penguin logo to be used on food and clothing items as a virtual character.

The first online video games produced by Tencent included CrossFire and Dungeon Fighter Online, which made a huge chunk of revenue for Tencent using licensing. Tencent also launched its popular messaging service in China called Weixin or WeChat in 2011, which became instantly popular and now it has over 1 billion monthly active users. Since 2011, Tencent started to diversify its revenue towards video games like Riot Games which is the developer of League of Legends, Epic Games which owns Fortnite, Infinity Blade, and Unreal, Kingsoft Corporation, and Activision Blizzard which owns Call of Duty.

In 2015, Tencent launched an online banking service called WeBank in China. Tencent also partnered with the popular NBA League to broadcast its games as the chief sponsor in China. In 2016, Tencent acquired Supercell which is the developer of the game Clash of Clans for 8 billion dollars. In 2017, Tencent crossed Alibaba to become the largest Chinese multinational conglomerate with 500 billion dollars and later 1 trillion dollars in 2021.

Tencent - Products and Services:

The various products and services of Tencent Holdings are as follows:

Social Media - The social media applications like Tencent QQ, and WeChat are popular messaging services with more than 1 billion active users and they earn revenue through premium subscriptions and advertisements.

Video Games - Tencent is the largest video games publisher in the world that once popular game houses like supercell Epic Games, Ubisoft, Miniclip, Riot Games, Fatshark, and Electronic Arts. PUBG Mobile is the most successful game by Tencent.

Broadcast - Tencent also earns through broadcasting popular shows like NBA and other popular Tencent Penguin Pictures.

Comics - Tencent produces China's largest comic book stores using animation platforms for several Marvel and other anime characters.

Music - Tencent music is the most popular video and audio streaming service in China similar to YouTube. Tencent has partnered with multiple music labels like Warner music group, Universal music group, and Spotify to provide music artists on their platform.

E-commerce - Tencent is also the second largest e-commerce website in China after Alibaba. It includes PaiPai.com which is similar to Amazon and the customers can make their transactions through a Chinese PayPal called TenPay.

Search Engines - Tencent has also launched its own search engine service called SoSo.com and which is similar to Google and it is the second most visited website in China.

Wrapping Up: 

Hence, Tencent is one of the largest Chinese multinational conglomerates that specializes in artificial intelligence, social media, video games, online services search engines, e-commerce, and payment services. Although most of the services provided by Tencent are only limited in China, popular video games like Clash of Clans, PUBG Mobile, League of Legends, and Fortnite are played by gamers all around the world.


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