The Chinese Social Media Giant You Never Heard Of Is Now Worth More Than Facebook

REUTERS/Thomas White

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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A Chinese tech giant and major competitor overtook Facebook in market value Tuesday.

Tencent, China’s largest tech company, successfully surpassed Facebook in market value just one day after it became the first Asian tech firm to achieve a valuation of $500 billion, according to CNBC. The Chinese company is now chomping at the heels of Amazon.

While the company is not well-known outside of China, the company is notorious in China for QQ, a popular instant message program, and WeChat, a comprehensive social media platform with almost 1 billion users. With the absence of foreign competitors, such as Facebook and Twitter, in China, Tencent has been able to dominate a market consisting hundreds of millions of internet users.

The Chinese government does not permit Chinese people to use Facebook, as content and discussions cannot be monitored and controlled by the vast domestic censorship apparatus. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made numerous attempts to convince China to allow Facebook into the country, even going so far as to reportedly develop censorship tools for the Chinese market, but China continues opposing the company’s return. Were the social media giant to succeed, the company would almost certainly struggle to compete against its domestic challengers.

Chinese internet users — specifically mobile users — use WeChat and other Tencent web apps to pay bills, play games, buy tickets, and chat with friends. WeChat in particular is an integral part of Chinese society.

Outside of its social media apps, Tencent is also one of the world’s most successful mobile gaming companies, and it has valuable investments in numerous projects in multiple industries. Tencent went public in 2004, and since then, the value of its stocks have risen 11,000 percent. The company’s stock rose 126.69 percent this year, and analysts argue the company will continue to grow due to its privileged position in China and expanding investments overseas. To make money like Facebook, though, Tencent will need to pursue new advertising opportunities.

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