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Tencent pledges $7.7 billion to support China poverty, environment initiatives

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FILE PHOTO: People are seen in front of the Tencent company headquarters in Shenzhen
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(Reuters) - Chinese tech giant Tencent on Monday pledged to invest 50 billion yuan ($7.68 billion) in environmental and social initiatives, a move that comes as China's internet heavyweights come under intense scrutiny from antitrust regulators.

Tencent, China's biggest social media and video games company, said its investment would fund initiatives in areas including basic science, education innovation, rural revitalisation, carbon neutrality, food, energy, and water provision, assistance with public emergencies, technology for senior citizens and public welfare.

It also said it is forming a corporate development group to spearhead such initiatives. It did not provide a time frame for its investment.

"Tencent should continue to respond to the ever-changing needs of the public and of the era, so as to develop and prosper together with society as a whole," Pony Ma, founder and chairman of Tencent, said in a statement.

Last week, China's market regulator warned the country's biggest internet companies to eradicate any banned practices, two days after slapping Alibaba with a record $2.75 billion fine after an investigation found it had abused its dominant market position for several years.

President Xi Jinping has made poverty alleviation one of his key priorities.

($1 = 6.5089 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Pei Li and Tony Munroe; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)