China-based company, Tencent Holding, has officially surpassed Facebook in terms of market value. The company has now crossed $500 billion and is the first Asian technology company to do so. The net worth of its founder Ma Huateng is more than the founders of Google.
Tencent Holdings Limited is a Chinese investment holding conglomerate whose subsidiaries provide media, entertainment, social network, payment systems, smartphones, internet-related services, value-added services, e-commerce, artificial intelligence, property services, and online advertising services, both in China and globally. The company has a market cap of US$531 billion (HK$4.15 trillion), and is Asia's most valuable company.
Ma Huateng also known as Pony Ma, is a Chinese business magnate, investor, philanthropist, engineer, internet and technology entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Tencent, Asia's most valuable company, one of the largest investment corporations and Internet companies, and the biggest gaming and entertainment company in the world. The company controls China’s biggest mobile instant messaging service and its subsidiaries provide media, entertainment, payment systems, smartphones, internet-related services, value-added services and online advertising services, both in China and globally.
WeChat is a Chinese social media (instant messaging, commerce and payment services) mobile application software developed by Tencent. It was first released in 2011, and by 2017 it was one of the largest standalone messaging apps by monthly active users, with over 980 million monthly active users (902 million daily active users). It has been called China's "App For Everything" because of its many functions and platforms, and lauded as one of the world's most powerful apps.
Internet in China is highly censored. Hence, apps like WhatsApp and Facebook are not available at all times. However, Huateng’s WeChat app is used by nearly everyone in China. It is a combination of Twitter and Facebook. He is China’s third richest man. Tom Rafferty, China regional manager for the Economist Intelligence Unit said, “He wields massive influence because of the ubiquitous use of WeChat ... Several powerful business leaders have had their wings clipped in recent years, but the technology sector has so far escaped relatively unscathed.”
On 20 November 2017, Tencent became the first Asian company to cross the US$500 billion valuation mark. With this valuation it has been able to surpass Facebook. It has now become the world's most valuable social media company. It also one of the top five biggest firms across the world, along with Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft.
In addition, Forbes magazine has stated that the net worth of Ma Huateng is more than that of the founders of Google – Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The magazine has stated that his personal worth is now 48.3 billion dollars. In addition to owning WeChat, Tencent has also a stake in a number of online verticals. It has a stake in SnapChat, a social media platform whose membership numbers continue to grow. It also has investments in the ride-sharing app Lyft and electric-vehicle maker Tesla.
Our assessment is that Huateng’s WeChat is prevalent across China with more than a billion users. The country’s large population makes it fertile market for messaging platforms and WeChat has the lion’s share of the market. It remains to be seen if the company and its founder is able to replicate its success in other markets across the world. We believe they will begin with trying to capitalize Malaysia and Singapore.