HAINAN, China–Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. is getting help from International Business Machines Corp. to attract business customers, as the Chinese company diversifies its offerings beyond games and online communication. The companies said they signed a preliminary agreement to develop cloud-based offerings that would be provided by Tencent to sectors like banking, retail and health care, including services like management tools and analytics. The offerings will be run from Tencent data centers, the companies said, though Tencent has the option to use an IBM data center in Hong Kong.
If you’re a successful Chinese mobile startup, I’ve got some good news: Tencent wants to help you. As part of a recent event celebrating the 5.0 release of its mobile app platform Yingyongbao, the company has announced what it calls its “double-hundred plan.” According to Tencent social media services group VP Lin Yongtao, the double-hundred plan stipulates that over the next three years, Tencent will direct 10 billion user visits to 100 Chinese startups via its open platform, although the startups in question must be valued at RMB 100 million (US$16 million) or more.
Tencent has made a new social play in the same vein as Snapchat to appease China’s “post-90s” youths. The web giant made a fresh US$20 million series A investment into Blink, a new photo sharing and messaging app out of China. Sequoia Capital, H Capital, ZhenFund, and Innovation Works also participated in the round, according to Techweb.
(UPDATED on September 29: Tencent has just bought US$100 million in extra shares in 58.com, which effectively takes its stake to 24 percent from the previous 19.9 percent. The article’s title and timestamp is updated also. The original article was published on June 27.) Chinese web giant Tencent (HKG:0700) – now best known as being the maker of WeChat – announced today that it’s paying US$736 million for a 19.9 percent stake in 58.com (NYSE:WUBA), which is China’s answer to Craigslist.
According to China’s Caixin (hat-tip Forbes ), the new division will make use of Tencent’s existing intellectual property from its gaming and comics divisions. Among the seven films that Tencent claims are currently in pre-production, four of them originate from one of the company’s video games. It’s also working on an adaptation of Mo Yan’s novella “Treasure Map.” Tencent COO Ren Yuxing said in a statement that the company aims to merge content across its numerous branches, while creating a movie viewing experience that integrates both the online and offline worlds.
Tencent has signed a deal with western tech blog The Next Web to be the latter’s exclusive content partner for Greater China. The announcement published today says Tencent has exclusive rights to translate The Next Web’s content into Chinese. The new site for all translated content can be found here , under the umbrella of Tencent’s existing QQ Tech website. No financial dealings were discussed in the announcement. In February 2013, Tencent signed a similar deal with US-based Business Insider.
Alibaba will be the third-biggest internet company in the world by market cap if analysts’ estimates hold up. It will surpass both US ecommerce giant Amazon and Chinese rival Tencent. Chinese companies take up four of the top 10 spots and make up three of the top six. Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) sits at number six, while JD (NASDAQ:JD) rounds out the top 10. Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) leads by a long shot with nearly twice the market cap as runner up Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).
The recent departure of tech executive Zhang Yaqin from US software giant Microsoft made quite a splash, even triggering speculation from experts about the possible end of an era when top Chinese tech professionals considered overseas multinationals the favorite option for employment. The news of Zhang, former Microsoft Corporate vice president and chairman of Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D Group (ARD), “defecting” to Chinese search engine powerhouse Baidu Inc came on September 8.
Tencent has introduced in-store mobile payments in WeChat, its popular mobile messaging app, for nine retail chains across China. As Pingwest reports, Chinese WeChat users will spot a new “Small Payments” (shuaka, or “swipe card” in Chinese) feature inside the “Wallet” section of the app. Pressing the icon and entering one’s password for WeChat Payments will subsequently generate a QR Code or a barcode that retailers can scan to accept payments for in-store purchases.
China’s biggest internet company Tencent has signed a deal to buy a stake in Sinopec’s sales and marketing arm, according to MarketWatch . This gives Tencent access to the oil giant’s retail operations across China. The maker of WeChat is one of several investors involved in the deal with China’s biggest oil company. The deal is worth RMB 107.1 billion (US$17.44 billion) from 25 new investors, which also include insurance giant PICC, and asset management firm Munsun. Each company can own up to a 2.8 percent stake.
Sinopec has signed a framework cooperation agreement with Tencent aimed at cooperation in non-oil businesses. According to the agreement, Sinopec and Tencent will work together in various sectors, including business development and promotion, mobile payment, media campaigns, O2O businesses, map navigation, user loyalty management, big data application, and cross-marketing. Financial terms of the deal were not announced.
Apple announced it will introduce Apple Pay, an NFC-enabled mobile payment service for brick-and-mortar sales, in its upcoming iPhone 6 devices. Apple followers predicted its arrival in the days leading up to Apple’s keynote, but its unveiling yesterday came years after folks first expected the Cupertino-based firm to start eyeing in-store payments. As far back as 2011, Bloomberg published a piece that cited analysts stating the company was working on NFC payment prototypes for small businesses.
China-based Internet service provider Tencent has invested US$70 million in DXY, China’s leading medical, pharmaceutical and life science Web portal, according to Tencent. DXY is set to work with Tencent to seek potential integration between Tencent’s systems such as WeChat and its own platform and will use the funds to develop more medical and healthcare products, the company noted.
China’s largest tech corporations are rushing to penetrate an industry that’s historically not tech-savvy – brick-and-mortar retail. Dalian Wanda Group, a conglomerate best known for its chain of movie theaters , has launched a US$814 joint ecommerce venture with Baidu and Tencent for the purpose of accelerating the three firms’ reach for in-store mobile payments. Tencent and Baidu have confirmed news of the venture with Tech in Asia.
Tencent today announced a suite of new features for businesses to better engage customers through their public WeChat accounts, according to TechNode . One day earlier, Alibaba’s mobile Alipay Wallet released over 60 new APIs for third party developers to build online storefronts, according to the company’s official English-language blog .
A full year after WeChat rolled out its social gaming platform, the popular messaging app finally has a foreign-made game in its portfolio. Over the weekend, the hotly anticipated WeChat edition of Candy Crush Saga rolled out on Android. An iOS version will likely arrive soon. The WeChat edition Candy Crush Saga can be tied either to the messaging app or to QQ, the IM service that’s also run by Tencent (HKG:0700). At the moment, Candy Crush Saga for WeChat is only available via Tencent’s AppGem app store, and can only be used by those with a special invitation code.
WeChat isn’t just used by friends for messaging – in China it’s also used by more than two million bloggers, celebrities, media outlets, small companies, and major brands to reach out to people. Trouble is, WeChat has a huge problem with fake brand accounts. While the best way for a WeChat user to add a brand’s official account is via a QR code – which are plastered over nearly every major store in China – there are still many cases in which a user might search within the app for a certain brand account. That’s when the user will find it’s a disaster zone.
WeChat, China’s top social network and messaging app today launched the open beta of its advertising platform for official accounts, according to QQ Tech. As we reported earlier when Tencent first started testing the ad service, these WeChat ‘subscription’ accounts are used by brands, small businesses, media, and celebrities to send updates in the form of chat messages. Users can click through these messages to read full posts where the ads appear.