China’s version of Facebook may surpass the real one
China’s answer to Facebook could soon be worth more than the real thing.
Shares in Tencent (TCEHY), a Chinese social media and video games giant, have more than doubled in price over the past year, propelling the company’s market value ever closer to Facebook (FB, Tech30)’s $ 520 billion.
Tencent’s value stood around $ 470 billion after the close of trading Wednesday in Hong Kong.
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Facebook runs the world’s most popular social network, with more than 2 billion users globally. It also owns two other hugely popular global platforms, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Tencent’s own social network, WeChat, has almost one billion users, mostly in China. With Western rivals like Facebook and Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) shut out, WeChat has a commanding position in the world’s most populous country.
But it isn’t just social networking that has gotten investors excited about Tencent. The company has been expanding deeper into other areas including smartphone games, mobile payments and streaming music. All that has helped fuel record profits this year.
On Wednesday evening in Hong Kong, the company reported that profits jumped almost 70% in the latest quarter compared with the same period last year. That comfortably beat analysts’ forecasts.
Tencent is also investing heavily in other tech companies around the world. As well as pouring money into startups in Asia, it’s taken a 5% stake in Elon Musk’s electric-car maker, Tesla (TSLA), and bought up 12% of Snap (SNAP), the parent company of SnapChat.
Even before the latest set of bumper profits, analysts expected Tencent’s shares to keep rising.
Some of them predict the Chinese tech company will soon pass the $ 500-billion milestone, putting it in the ballpark of another U.S. giant, Amazon (AMZN, Tech30), which is worth roughly $ 550 billion. But it would still have a long way to go to catch up with top dogs Apple (AAPL, Tech30) ($ 880 billion) and Google’s parent company, Alphabet (GOOGL, Tech30) ($ 720 billion).
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The speed of Tencent’s charge toward the half-a-trillion mark is highlighted by the fact that it only hit the $ 300-billion mark about six months ago.
It isn’t the only Chinese tech titan getting closer to joining the $ 500 billion club either.
E-commerce company Alibaba (BABA, Tech30), which is frequently compared to Amazon, has seen its value soar to around $ 465 billion. The company’s stock price has also doubled over the past year.
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But those surging share prices and some eye-popping IPOs have led to fears from some market watchers that a bubble could be forming in China’s high-flying tech stocks.
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