Tencent: From Messenger to Global Domination
Tencent was founded in 1998, with the first product released in 1999 — software messaging service OICO. From 1999 to 2010, the main source of income for Tencent was advertising and premium accounts for online chat. Its original corporate objective was to harness the Internet opportunity. As of 2005, shortly after its IPO, Tencent defined the mission as “implementing our Online Lifestyle strategy, which strives to cater to the basic needs of our users.”. In 2008, the company has started licensing games, but it wasn’t any special.
2011 was a breaking point for Tencent. It was the year when a heavy diversification has began. Firstly, a WeChat was launched, which later became one of the most popular social media apps with the most wide list of functions. Then, company has started acquiring majority or minority stakes in a range of large video game companies, from Riot Games to Epic Games and Activision Blizzard. At the same time, Tencent started looking for popular video game concepts and creating multiple similar games in the same niche to profit from the most successful one.
In 2014, a new wave of diversification has started. Tencent has started investment in new areas,e-commerce, logistics, taxi,banking, cosmetics, cloud, social media etc.
However, in 2011 Tencent has started investment in new areas, ranging from education to autonomous vehicles and fintech — now those areas are representing 25% of company’s revenue. Those measures helped Tencent to become the first Chinese company to surpass $500 billion in market valuation.
In 2019, the company refined its mission once again, in response to the growing global backlash against technology’s dominance in our lives, boiling it down to: tech for social good.
“Rather than the techno-optimism of the past, people are becoming increasingly cautious of technology,” the company announced. “We should make careful choices instead of being blindly optimistic.”