Tencent, the Chinese investment conglomerate, has beat Facebook in terms of its market value just a day after it became the first technology firm to reach the $500 billion valuation mark by beating Alibaba. Tencent is at a close distance behind Amazon’s $542.7 billion valuation.
During Asian trading hours early this week, Tencent hit a record high of 439.6 Hong Kong dollars, which gave the company a market capitalization of 4.17 trillion Hong Kong dollars ($534.5 billion). This surpassed Facebook’s $519.4 billion market capitalization.
Founded in 1998, Tencent went public in 2004 at a rate of 3.70 Hong Kong dollars per share. Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, it’s one of the biggest social network and gaming firms in China. The company’s business also spans across news and content portals. Although Tencent is not very well known outside China, it owns the country’s most popular messaging service WeChat, which has nearly 1 billion users.
During an interview, Tencent’s Senior Vice President S.Y. Lau said Tencent has created a “breakthrough” in obtaining an e-payment license in Malaysia for local transactions, and it plans to launch early next year.
“Malaysia is actually quite large in the sense that we have 20 million WeChat users, huge potential, and the market is quite warm towards internet products from China,” Lau said.
According to analysts, one challenge for Tencent is that its success in China cannot be easily exported to markets outside China. However, Lau said Tencent is “not in hurry” to rush into overseas expansion or increase the monetization rate of its digital assets.
“We walk our own path at our own pace … and, to be honest, there is really quite a lot to do in China,” he said.
The online and mobile games division of Tencent generated over $4 billion in revenue last year. In 2016, the company acquired a majority stake in Finnish smartphone maker Supercell.
Tencent is also trying to expand outside China. While it is not expanding through its own products, it is investing in companies across the U.S. and Asia. It has also invested in several startups in Asia including Indian ride hailing service Ola, and has acquired stakes in both Tesla and Snap.