Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings plans to accelerate its investment overseas and in industries such as “smart retail”, while ByteDance Inc. is preparing a major push into the mobile games, a realm Tencent Holdings has dominated.
According to a speech made by Tencent President Martin Lau at a conference last week which the company posted on its social media account on Monday, Tencent has already invested in more than 800 companies, including 70 listed companies and over 160 are valued at more than $1 billion.
The second-biggest company in Asia by market value after arch-rival Alibaba Group Holdings has already stakes in firms such as food delivery giant Meituan Dianping, e-commerce site Pinduoduo and video game companies such as Riot Games and Supercell.
“Previously our traditional investment sectors were mostly focused on video games content and frontiers of science and technology,” Lau told a gathering of companies.
“However, with the development of Tencent’s WeChat mini-app ecosystem and payment platform, we will pay more attention to smart retail and payment platforms in future,” he said.
Meanwhile, ByteDance Inc. world’s most valuable startup, has reportedly built a full-fledged gaming division to spearhead its maiden foray into hardcore or non-casual games, Bloomberg reports citing people familiar with the matter. Over the past few months, ByteDance has bought up gaming studios and exclusive title distribution rights. Its first two games from the venture will be released this spring, targeting both local and overseas players, the report added. The games will most probably be multiplayer online games.
ByteDance Inc.'s TikTok short-form video sharing app has already more than a billion users. Its massive global user base and investment in gaming could make it a big disruptor in the gaming space this year.
Gaming in China has long been a Tencent fortress, with Netease Inc. a distant second.
Tencent has three of the world’s most popular multiplayer mobile titles in PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile and Honour of Kings.
More broadly, Tencent’s locked in a billion-plus users across Asia into a WeChat app that mashes elements of payments, social media, on-demand services and entertainment.
Tencent and Netease also have the advantage of having long-established relationships with Chinese regulators, who have constricted the number and variety of games allowed to be published in the country.