Tencent Is Now the Most Valuable Company in Asia

September 5, 2016, 10:59 AM UTC
Sportel Asia Conference
SINGAPORE - MARCH 15: Visitors and exhibitors network at the Tencent booth during the Sportel Asia Conference on March 15, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Sean Lee/Getty Images for Sportel)
Photograph by Sean Lee — Getty Images for Sportel

The web firm Tencent (TCEHY) has become the most valuable company in Asia, and one of the top 10 in the world by market capitalization.

It wasn’t so long ago that Tencent was racing neck-and-neck with Samsung — their share prices were both up by a third on the year — to overtake state-owned China Mobile and steal the title of the most valuable company in Asia.

Samsung has flagged over the last few days, however, after it had to issue a recall for its flagship Note 7 handset because of reports about battery fires. But stock in Tencent has continued to surge, rising 3.8% in Hong Kong on Monday. That took it to a valuation of HK$1.976 trillion ($255 billion).

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That jump takes Tencent narrowly past the market cap of China Mobile, and into the same premier league of public corporations as U.S. tech giants Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN) and Facebook (FB).

The Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba (BABA) is not far behind, with a current valuation of around $250 billion.

Tencent is best known for its gaming operation, its QQ and WeChat social networks, and its online ad business, although it also offers services in the realms of payments (a likely growth area), cloud storage, and entertainment.

The company became China’s most valuable tech company last month. So far this year its stock price has risen by more than 40%.

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Tencent’s success can largely be attributed to China’s current boom in consumer spending, and the firm has in the last couple years become a major investor in the venture capital scene.