Tencent: The World’s Largest Startup

Tencent is the Chinese social network, chat software and gaming developer. The company has grown from a simple startup to the biggest revenue spinner on the gaming frontier, and is now one of the most successful companies in the world. Tencent sits in the number one position in the gaming market with regards to revenue, with a 21% increase year on year as of December 2015 and a fourth quarter earnings of $2463 million. The company earned more than $3 billion in smartphone game revenue in 2015 and is listed on Forbes as one of the world’s most innovative companies.

From humble startup to chat, messaging, shopping and gaming.

Tencent began as a humble startup who opened their doors in 1998 to provide China with QQ, its first instant chat solution. Created by Ma Huateng, Tencent has grown from strength to strength, expanding into new markets and delivering services which seem to tap straight into trends. QQ was exactly what was needed at the time, and then came WeChat (Weixin) which has more than 400 million users enjoying anything from private chat rooms to messaging, shopping and gaming. Tencent’s fantasy RPG (role playing game) hit the number one spot in the free-to-play rankings in 2015, closely followed by CrossFire, another Tencent game which took second place.

The company has an impressive percentage in the Activision Blizzard studio, which was bought out from Vivendi in 2013. Tencent has a 40% stake in Epic Games as well as a majority equity interest in Riot Games. These studios produce some of the most successful gaming franchises to date, including as Call of Duty, Gears of War and, of course, League of Legends.

Online Entertainment: Mastering the gaming market

From a startup providing instant chat to the world’s most successful gaming organization by revenue, Tencent has mastered the market. Is it all down to right time, right place? Doubtful. While sometimes market shifts and moods can alter the course of startup history, this story is one which has been masterfully told by Huateng and Tencent’s commitment to delivering online entertainment right from the start.

Tencent has remained tightly focused on its core services, and it has paid attention to trends. In China, the online phenomenon was a tidal wave that Tencent rode with aplomb. People wanted to connect, so Tencent provided them with QQ and Weixin. They wanted to connect and have fun, so Tencent gave them gaming that is playable from any device while offering and promoting in-game payment trend. The company then continued to expand into gaming platforms, and it didn’t deviate or change focus. The company has maintained its steady growth trajectory thanks to its user-oriented operating strategy and value-added services and solutions.

In a recent interview with Campaign Asia, Corporate Vice President of Tencent, Steven Chang, said: “Consumers keep changing and in China they are very receptive to new technologies. At Tencent we put the users first and look at the value we can generate for the users as a number one priority. All the experience from the users is number one and this drives improving the technology — for the users.”

Innovation and Customer Demand

The impressive growth of this small startup into a global giant has been driven by innovation and finding ways of providing users with what they want in a format which is easy to use and digest. Tencent harnesses the potential of the internet, mobility and technology and has stayed true to its online presence and capabilities. This is how a chat software solution became a multi-billion dollar success story.

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Originally published at blog.100tb.com.

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