BEIJING: China’s Xiaomi Inc has agreed to buy about 3 percent of software firm Kingsoft Corp Ltd from Tencent Holdings Ltd for HK$527 million ($67.99 million), according to a Kingsoft filing on Monday. The deal with Xiaomi, the world’s third-biggest smartphone maker, is expected to close on January 30, the filing to the Hong Kong exchange said. Chinese social networking and video game giant Tencent will still hold 9.6 percent of Kingsoft.
This time last year, popular messaging app WeChat launched an online personal investment fund for its users in China. It allows people to get better interest rates for their savings than from banks. Now WeChat’s maker, Tencent, has revealed that the wealth fund has 10 million users who’ve banked a total of RMB 100 billion, which is US$16.2 billion. That amounts to an average of US$1,610 for each user.
Chinese Internet company Tencent and Sony Music Entertainment jointly announced a strategic cooperation agreement under which Tencent will exclusively manage Sony Music’s online music service in mainland China. No financial details of the agreement were released. Basing on the agreement, Tencent will recommend Sony Music’s artists on its QQ music streaming media website and other platforms.
Today Wanda Group, the Chinese commercial real estate firm best known for its movie theater chains, announced that its joint ecommerce venture with Tencent and Baidu closed a RMB 1 billion (US$161 million) funding round. The two investment funds, Xude Rendao and Centec Networks, will take 2 percent and 3 percent equity in the company, respectively. Wanda Group states that Tencent and Baidu now each hold a 15 percent stake in the venture, which is now valued at RMB 20 billion (about US$3.2 billion).
[SHANGHAI] Chinese Internet giant Tencent, operator of the popular messaging app WeChat, has launched an online bank, a state-backed newspaper said Monday, as the government seeks to foster private lenders. The online bank, called WeBank, will be fully Internet-based with no physical branches, the China Daily newspaper said. WeBank, approved by regulators in July, made its first loan at the weekend, although its formal opening is planned for April, the report said.
Re/code, the tech blog that’s home to All Things D emigres Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, is now available in Chinese. This comes as part of an exclusive partnership with web giant Tencent, which now has a Chinese-language Re/code site as part of its Tech QQ portal. See it here. The deal was announced on both Tech QQ and Re/code, but the terms of the deal are not disclosed.
Tencent today launched the website for what will likely be the first ever private internet bank in the People’s Republic of China. China began a trial program early this year that would allow five new private banks to be set up. Web giants Alibaba and Tencent signed up, and the maker of WeChat looks to be first out of the gate. The new WeBank website reads (translation ours): Are we a bank? Are we an internet company? We are an internet bank!
Change is the only constant in today’s fast paced world of technology, so companies who seek to stay ahead will need keep on reinventing themselves. “You cannot rest on your laurels within the technology space,” says Lau Seng Yee, president of online media and senior executive vice president of Tencent Holdings. “Companies that embrace change in a positive way will be able to capture the new opportunities that come with it.” This ability and willingness to adapt to change is what he calls “digital Darwinism”.
Tencent is China’s second-biggest internet company, recently stripped of its number one spot by Alibaba. It’s also one of the country’s most active venture capitalists. While Alibaba made headlines with massive investments into big established companies, Tencent got down and dirty with early stage investments into nascent startups.
Chinese social and gaming giant Tencent has recently made an investment in Japanese mobile game developer Aiming, according to a press release posted on Aiming’s site. The total sum Tencent invested has not been revealed, but the agreement also includes a cooperative partnership that will see Tencent distributing Aiming’s games across greater China and Aiming distributing Tencent games (with a non-exclusive license) in Japan.
Wang Juan, chief editor of Tencent’s video business, announced that Tencent is preparing its over-the-top content plans for 2015 by cooperating with license owners and hardware manufacturers. Wang said Internet TV in China is a regulatory focus of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of China because smart TVs will become a mainstream platform for video distribution in China.
Yesterday, Alibaba revealed its latest move towards the gaming space: a new social mobile gaming platform called KTplay. Created together with Beijing-based mobile game startup Yodo1, KTplay is a bit like a more robust version of Apple’s Game Center. But that’s not the only move Alibaba has made recently in the gaming space. In August, the company poured $120 million into American game developer Kabam, and it has also experimented with using its ecommerce sites as a platform for game distribution.
Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal broke the news that Tencent will be bringing the popular Japanese mobile game Puzzle & Dragons to China next year, “according to a person familiar with the matter.” Does that mean a massive windfall of cash is imminent for the Chinese game publisher? On the one hand, this move may be coming a little late. Puzzle & Dragons was white hot in 2013, but since then its growth has slowed.
WiWide, a Chinese startup that provides public wifi networks to stores and restaurants, has received an RMB 300 million (US$49 million) series C funding round from Tencent and Dianping, according to TechNode. Over 500 domestic and international franchises use WiWide in China, including Starbucks, Burger King, and several airports. Its advertising clients include Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Nokia, Lenovo, and HTC, whose ads get pushed to customers once they connect. Altogether, the company runs over 30,000 hotspots.
BEIJING: The founders of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd were among a consortium of investors who purchased stakes in Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd in a HK$36.5bil (RM16.15bil) deal, in one of the largest Hong Kong share offerings of the year. Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma was one of Ping An’s new backers, according to a person familiar with the matter. Tencent chairman Pony Ma also participated, according to domestic financial news magazine Caijing.
The battle for online viewers in China heated up again today with Tencent’s announcement of a tie-up with HBO. The deal will see a number of shows from the American subscription channel, such as Game of Thrones and The Newsroom, streamed in China. They’ll be available soon on the Tencent Video site. All the violence, nudism, and sex scenes in Game of Thrones will make it tough to edit for approval in China. It will likely involve a number of cuts. A Tencent representative declined to comment on the record about this issue.
Jane Poynter, co-founder and chief executive officer of World View Enterprises, revealed that the company recently gained a new round of investments and its investors included the Chinese Internet technology giant Tencent. Focusing on the research and development of space travel business, World View operates high-altitude balloons that offer an accessible and affordable way to access near space. The company plans to launch a near space travel service in 2016.
Korean mobile game designer 4:33 Creative Lab has attracted fresh investment from Tencent and Line Corp, according to BeSUCCESS. The dollar amount was undisclosed, but BeSUCCESS puts the figure north of US$100 million. Tencent, Line, and Korea Investment Partners jointly set up a consortium in which Tencent contributed about US$110 million, according to Business Korea. After the investment made through the consortium, Tencent’s stake in 4:33 Creative Lab comes out to 25 percent. 4:33 Creative Labs says it will disclose more details about the consortium later this year.
Tencent released its third quarter results for 2014 yesterday and, as analysts predicted, its growth in mobile games has slowed. In fact at RMB 2.6 billion (US$424 million) this quarter’s mobile gaming revenue is actually down compared last quarter, although Tencent blames that mostly on “delayed launches of upgrades.” I’ve written quite a bit about why I think the mobile gaming market in Asia is overhyped, so I don’t want to rehash any of those arguments here.
The number of internet users on Earth recently surpassed three billion, and nearly half of them – 1.35 billion – are on Facebook, according to social media agency WeAreSocial. That’s roughly equal to the entire population of China. Ironically, very few of Facebook’s users actually live in China, where the government has blocked the behemoth social network for several years. Tencent reigns supreme instead, taking up three of the top five spots for social platforms with the most monthly active users in the world.