Tencent is the GrandMother of a Chinese Tech Dynasty
One app to rule them all, WeChat’s Tencent shows why Tencent’s army of apps will be the most successful.
If you can’t keep up with Softbank’s investments, then you really can’t keep up with Tencent’s investments. Tencent, Alibaba, Huawei and Baidu are forming a tech dynasty that might live on for decades and will likely define the 21st century media and tech experience.
Few people realize Tencent is now a tech firm in the $300 Billion club and along with Alibaba are destined for tech supremacy.
A 12% stake in Snap Inc, shows you their reach. Don’t forget it has a 5% stake in Tesla. It has a major stake in Didi and mobile games. Tencent isn’t just a tech company, it’s the start of a technology dynasty.
Tencent is about as easy to define as Amazon will be in 2025. It’s basically a holding conglomerate with interests in web related services, entertainment, digital advertising, media, apps, payment systems, value-added services, mobile games and well, the list simply goes on. Important note, nothing keeps a firm like this regional, as its tentacles reach globally, so will China’s influence.
Think about the pace and the sure-fire-bets of Tencent’s investments for a second. If Softbank is betting on self-driving cars and robotics, Tencent is betting on technology as a whole. Tencent and Alibaba are showing something very distinctly Asian, they know how to combine technology and entertainment way better than Silicon Valley. After all, Silicon Valley and Holywood are deep divided institutions, not even compatible with their government, much less having equal representation in their leadership. In China, these tech firms are fully in harmony with Beijing’s mandates. Think about what that means for their push for global influence in technology, apps, AI and entertainment.
Every year of Fortune’s Global 500 list are now destined to have more and more Chinese firms. As a futurist, it isn’t hard for me to envision a day when Tencent could outstrip Apple as the most profitable company in the world. While I’m a fan of how Amazon crosses verticals and pioneers automation on the front lines of retail, logistics, AI and convenience; Tencent is more ethereal and its bets are safer, yet at the same time more daring and prophetic. The rise of Tencent is as impressive as any company, but it’s future, history will show, to be even more startling.
Tencent isn’t like Amazon or Microsoft or even Apple, having to fight with more companies for a smaller pie. Tencent’s only nemesis is really Alibaba, and both propel the other forward. Tencent’s is the heir apparent of the entire technology industry; and WeChat as a star consumer facing product, shows its superiority.
Shenzhen-based Tencent had a revenue of nearly $23Bn, absolutely noting compared to what it will make soon. Alibaba might create the “Netflix of China” and have more visible klout, but Tencent will steal the show in the end.
In the race to AI, China can copy the west, faster than the west will be able to copy China. Take Amazon Echo (Alexa) and Google Home devices, Asia already have:
Alibaba: Tmall Genie
Line: Clova WAVE
Their own personal voice assistant devices.
Curiously, Tencent’s Xiaowei almost has the feel of Apple’s HomePod device.
Huawei, Samsung and a host of other Asian tech companies are not far behind.
But it’s hard for us to imagine the quality of the data Tencent has at its disposal. WeChat’s 938 million active users each month aren’t nothing. This has to be combined with news, music, and app consumers of an entire empire. Tencent is an octopus of entertainment, spanning ride-hailing, food delivery, education, film, sports and the music industry. That uniquely sprawling Tencent ecosystem, only Amazon in a few years will be able to compare with. So Tencent is then, Softbank + Facebook with the multidisciplinary prowess of Amazon, in a sense.
Tencent’s a cloud-native company, unlike the world will ever see again. Tencent’s not just a sleeping giant in the AI race. Tencent is China’s chosen one. With Beijing’s new tech edict to rule in AI, Tencent is the company that can make it happen with nearly unlimited funding.
Look closely at who Tencent invests in, and you will see winners. Wondering why Baidu doesn’t seem to be growing as fast as other dynasty members? Tencent has a stake in rising China search engine, Sogou.
For Chinese consumers bound to live in a walled garden of a social credit system, Tencent is the Queen of the dynasty. And we should not take her lightly.
WeChat could be the beta of the winning model of consumer facing AI, and China could become the world’s global superpower in an age of technology, AI hardware, automation and robotics. The recent global push of companies such as Huawei, Alibaba, Mobike, Ofo and others is just a sign of things to come. But never forget, if Alibaba is the heart, and Huawei is the body, Tencent is the brain of the future Chinese world dynasty of technology dominance.
How do you translate the future of technology into a Chinese order, you fuel Tencent’s ascent. It’s already started.