|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||0.00 x 0|
|Day's Range||68.00 - 70.37|
|52 Week Range||40.04 - 72.90|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.02|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||50.29|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.15 (0.23%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||May 14, 2020|
|1y Target Est||416.74|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- For a long time, U.S.-based internet giants entertained the idea of finally accessing the world’s biggest market and tapping into a base of more than 1.3 billion potential consumers. Now, just as the door to China appears firmly shut, the next giant market is opening up.Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai is ready to realize India’s potential with the one way executives know best: a big fat check. The American search-engine giant said its Google unit plans to spend $10 billion over the next seven years on operations, infrastructure and investments as a “reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy.”American corporate leaders from Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos to Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg have all known that India could be the next big thing. Pichai, himself Indian-born, hasn’t sat idly by, either.Their entry has been slowed by lack of broad-based demand for services offered only in English, a national market fragmented by whimsical local taxation, and an inadequate road and warehousing network that would facilitate quick e-commerce logistics.Favorable Chinese treatment, and protectionism, allowed Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. to develop super-apps that deliver a smorgasbord of offerings from instant messaging to news and deliveries to financial services. No U.S. giant offers anywhere near the breadth and depth of services as their Chinese counterparts.Indian oil billionaire Mukesh Ambani has designs on doing in his home country just what the Americans couldn’t do in theirs. Four years ago, he upended the telecommunications sector with a new entrant that offered free voice calls and really cheap data. Suddenly, hundreds of millions more Indian consumers had a mobile phone in their hands and a reliable, affordable internet connection. Ambani followed that up by getting Facebook to buy a 10% percent stake in Jio Platforms Ltd. — Ambani’s holding company for telcos, media and other digital assets — for $5.7 billion. With Facebook now owning a stake in Jio, it makes sense for Google to look for its own telco dance partner, be it Bharti Airtel Ltd. or Vodafone Idea Ltd. — the only two meaningful competitors to Jio’s wireless service that are still left in the fray.Google’s big move is well-timed. The nation’s largely state-owned banking system was in bad shape even before Covid-19. After the inevitable pandemic-linked losses, institutions will be grateful to limp again and digital commerce will present a new growth avenue. When Indian consumers need loans, they’ll be giving consent to lenders to digitally piece together their credit history by pulling scraps from everywhere. Suppliers of goods and services will also want to tap cheaper working capital by sharing a real-time snapshot of their cash flows.Indian banks are at a disadvantage in the coming shakeup. Information collection, analysis and distribution is exactly what the U.S. internet companies do best. Jio with Facebook, Google (with or without a chosen partner), and even Amazon.com could have deeper insights into consumer and supplier habits than the traditional financiers. A Jio or Google-backed finance app could dish out a loan faster than a banker could pull out a ballpoint pen. That would leave the state-owned lenders offering little more than their vast balance sheets for credit creation.Not only is India finally getting the fast mobile coverage it sorely needs, its payments infrastructure is also ready. Pichai has built a payments service specifically for India, using the local platform that allows any two parties, holding accounts at different banks, to send and receive money instantly without knowing anything more than each others’ virtual IDs. The revamped network is so modern and innovation-friendly that Google has asked the U.S. to consider emulating it.Jio has garnered much of the recent attention, helped by a splashy fundraising spectacle that adds up to half of the investment in global telecom deals this year. But Google’s payment app as well as WalMart’s PhonePe have been quietly scaling up. Now, when Indian consumers want deliveries, entertainment, or a loan there’s a good chance they’ll be searching Google. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Huya (NYSE: HUYA), which owns one of China's largest game streaming platforms, went public just over two years ago at $12 per share. Its robust growth in revenue and users attracted the bulls, and the stock subsequently doubled from its IPO price.
Tencent's (TCEHY) expansion strategy to take China-based gaming firm, Leyou Technologies Holdings Ltd. private is expected to stir up competition in the video gaming space.
Rating Action: Moody's affirms ratings of Dalian Wanda Commercial Management and Wanda HK; outlook stable. Global Credit Research- 13 Jul 2020. Hong Kong, July 13, 2020-- Moody's Investors Service has ...
Chinese tech giant Tencent said it has made peace with the country's best-known chilli oil maker Lao Gan Ma, after an advertising scam that bewildered many and generated a public relations nightmare. After thorough communication with Lao Gan Ma - which translates as "old godmother" - the two sides have cleared up any misunderstanding and Tencent has apologised for inconvenience and improper handling of the situation, a joint statement on Chinese blogging website Weibo said on Friday. A Shenzhen court last week said it would freeze 16.24 million yuan ($2.3 million) in assets belonging to Lao Gan Ma at the request of Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK), which had sued the manufacturer for failing to pay advertising fees under a 2019 contract.
(Bloomberg) -- Tencent Holdings Ltd. is in advanced talks to take Chinese gaming firm Leyou Technologies Holdings Ltd. private, edging out other potential suitors including Sony Corp. in a battle for the Hong Kong-listed company.Tencent Mobility Ltd., a wholly-owned unit of the Chinese tech giant, has entered into an exclusive agreement with Leyou for a potential privatization, Leyou said in an exchange filing on Friday. That confirmed an earlier Bloomberg News report.Leyou didn’t provide any financial details in the statement and said there’s no certainty an agreement will be reached. The exclusive agreement is valid for three months, it said.Trading in Leyou, which has a market value of about $1.1 billion, will resume on July 13.Leyou’s controlling shareholder Charles Yuk had been in talks with Tencent-backed iDreamSky Technology Holdings Ltd. for a majority stake sale since late last year. In May, Leyou confirmed it received another non-binding offer from Zhejiang Century Huatong Group Co., a Shenzhen-listed gaming firm that also counts Tencent as a shareholder.Tencent’s offer could resolve what had been an escalating contest for Leyou, with Sony considering joining the bidding, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month.Century Huatong said on Friday, before Leyou’s announcement, that it had ended the takeover talks with the gaming firm.(Updates throughout with Leyou’s statement)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Corp. is buying the software of Hooq Digital Ltd., the Southeast Asian video streaming service owned by Singtel, Sony and Warner Bros that’s filed for liquidation, according to people familiar with the deal.Coupang has already struck a deal to acquire the assets, the people said, asking not to be named because the information hasn’t been announced.The deal ushers SoftBank-backed Coupang into a competitive but fragmented video streaming arena and pits it against the likes of Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. U.S. giants have emerged as frontrunners, squeezing out a number of domestic players with splashier local programming and fuller Hollywood slates. In a sign of accelerating consolidation, Tencent Holdings Ltd. recently agreed to buy the assets of Malaysian streaming platform iFlix Ltd. And last month, ride-hailing giant Gojek won funding from Golden Gate Ventures and other backers for its own video foray.Coupang, backed also by BlackRock Inc. and Sequoia Capital, has designs too on its own home market. Korea in recent years birthed blockbusters that captivated global audiences from “Parasite” to “Train to Busan,” yet Netflix and Alphabet Inc.’s Youtube remain dominant local players. South Korea’s government announced a plan last month to nurture five homegrown over-the-top or streaming service providers into global companies, and support their growth by expediting deals and investment in content.A Coupang representative declined to comment.Read more: Tencent Buys Assets of Struggling Streaming Platform IFlixHooq, a joint venture between Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., Sony Pictures Television Inc. and Warner Bros Entertainment Inc., filed for liquidation in March and discontinued service at the end of April. Set up in 2015, it offered movies and drama series across Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and India, but ran into trouble during the pandemic.Coupang, widely regarded as South Korea’s Amazon, has been aggressively expanding into new businesses such as food delivery and digital payments, mirroring the U.S. giant by broadening its services. The Seoul-based company, founded in 2010 by Chief Executive Officer Bom Kim, was said to be valued at $9 billion in late 2018 and has been eyeing a public listing as early as next year, Bloomberg News reported in January.Buoyed by the growth in subscribers to its delivery service, sales at the startup rose to a record 7.15 trillion won ($5.9 billion) in 2019.Read more: Coupang Grew Revenue 64% in Boost For SoftBank’s Startup Cred(Updates with details on Asian market from the third paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Sony Corp. said Thursday it invested $250 million in Epic Games Inc., the publisher of the popular video game "Fortnite," for a minority stake. Prior to Sony's investment, Cary, N.C.-based Epic has received $1.6 billion in funding from investors, according to Crunchbase, which lists lead investors as Tencent Holdings , Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and Vulcan Capital. Back in 2012, Tencent invested $330 million for a 40% stake in Epic. "Epic's powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations," said Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony chairman and chief executive, in a statement. "There's no better example of this than the revolutionary entertainment experience, Fortnite."
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Time will be the next frontier in India’s digital battlefield; dollars will follow the hours consumers spend online.India has left a void in their day by banning 59 Chinese apps after a border dispute with its northern neighbor led to violent clashes. The video-sharing platform TikTok, which became a craze in towns and villages as a medium of expression, is gone. So are its smaller cousins, like Bigo Live and Likee.What can fill the gap? Thanks to the world’s cheapest data charges of 9 cents per gigabyte, Indian smartphone users are guzzling content for six hours plus. For local startups like Glance, which offers games, news and video on the mobile lock-screen, the ban on Chinese competition is a chance to add to its tally of 100 million daily active users. The country’s youth bulge also makes it a perfect occasion for homegrown education technology unicorns like Byju to scale up.But the ultimate prize may go to super-apps that meld content and commerce in the 16 Indian languages besides English that boast anywhere between 5 million to half a billion speakers. To not have to download multiple apps to do different things will save phone memory, an important consideration for those who access the internet on low-end devices. Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat, which offers everything from messaging to gaming and financial services, provides a successful template. Chinese users are also online for six hours a day, mostly to browse content, particularly social media. Although only 4% of their time is spent on e-commerce, it’s enough to drive $1.5 trillion in annual online sales. The smaller Indian market, with online sales of $40 billion, will want to copy the playbook. The most obvious super-app candidate is billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms Ltd., a four-year-old startup with an equity value of $65 billion, including more than $15 billion recently raised from investors including Facebook Inc., KKR & Co. and Silver Lake Partners. Before Jio eventually seeks a listing on Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange, Ambani would probably want it ready as a carriage-content-and-commerce powerhouse for half-a-billion people.Jio’s 4G telecom service already has roughly 400 million subscribers, though they currently don’t even pay $2 a month. The trick to a $100 billion-plus initial public offering would lie in using the partnership with Facebook to introduce features such as the WeChat mini-program via the popular WhatsApp messaging service. It lets users book hotels, order taxis, explore augmented reality to try on a new L’Oreal beauty product, or test-drive a Tesla — without leaving WeChat. When it comes to building product awareness and interest, these embedded mini-apps in China are now a fourth as effective as regular online stores run by JD.com Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., according to McKinsey & Co. They will offer brands in India a chance to sell more — and more profitably — even in remote towns. The consulting firm found that younger consumers in smaller Chinese cities give more weight to advice from social-media influencers and referrals by friends than their counterparts in larger metropolitan areas. This will probably hold true for India as well. As for the actual commerce, JioMart, Ambani’s new e-commerce platform, would take orders and — if the regulator permits it — accept payments via WhatsApp. Staples could be delivered by traditional neighborhood stores, with Jio helping connect them to buyers. For discretionary products, Ambani may use his Reliance Retail Ltd., already the country’s largest bricks-and-mortar retailer. It won’t be too hard to grease the wheels of super-app commerce with credit. Local lenders will be desperate for a new source of balance-sheet expansion after absorbing inevitable losses from the pandemic and lockdown. Still, the road to satisfied digital customers will be long and bumpy because of India’s creaky infrastructure. Keeping users hooked with novel content will therefore be crucial. Facebook is building a new version of Quest virtual reality headsets; the Silicon Valley firm is also acquiring studios that make VR games. Jio, which wants its set-top box to support online gaming, could find opportunities for collaboration.However, the main entertainment fare will still be cricket and Bollywood. Last year, Ambani promised Jio First Day First Show — movies streamed to broadband customers on the day of their theater release. With Covid-19 shutting down cinemas, producers in India need digital alternatives; audiences need their fix. Although Ambani appears to be ahead, his won’t be India’s only super-app. Amazon.com Inc. has pledged to invest $5.5 billion in the country, while Walmart Inc. has plowed in $16 billion to acquire local e-commerce leader Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Potentially, they — or Alphabet Inc.’s Google — could seek telecom and digital media partners.Western tech firms were broadly shut out of China’s digital revolution. In India, they’ll join the fray, hoping for insights that will come in handy in other emerging markets. But India will still prefer local control over the super-apps. Six hours a day of 1.3 billion people — and all the data that flows from it — is a coveted resource, something politicians won’t want slipping out of their sphere of influence. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: JD.com, Tencent, Alibaba and Sohu.com
Tencent's (TCEHY) aggressive steps, including the launch of its new studio, are expected to boost its competitive position against Google, NVIDIA, Amazon, NetEase and Microsoft in gaming space.
(Bloomberg) -- Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is testing China’s digital cash as a payment method on its platform, in what could be one of the first real-world applications of the electronic version of the yuan.The SoftBank Group Corp.-backed startup said on Wednesday it’s working with a research wing of the People’s Bank of China on uses for the virtual legal tender dubbed Digital Currency Electronic Payment, or DCEP. That includes testing the token on its ride-hailing platform, people familiar with the matter said. Specifics like when the feature will officially roll out aren’t clear yet, they said, asking not to be identified because the plan is private.Shares in Chinese financial software and information security companies including Feitian Technologies Co. and Julong Co. rose by their 10% daily limits on the news. Representatives from the PBOC had no comment when contacted.China’s government began a pilot program for its digital currency, which lives on a mobile wallet application and offers Beijing greater control of the country’s financial system, a few months ago. The initial testing was limited to four cities, with local media reporting that some of the money was distributed via transport subsidies to residents in Suzhou. However, implementation remains a question. China’s $27 trillion payments industry is already dominated by twin internet giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd.Adoption by Didi, which connects half a billion Chinese commuters, would drive acceptance of China’s digital coin and widen Beijing’s global lead in government-sanctioned virtual tokens. Didi currently employs payment tools from Tencent and Alibaba-backed Ant Group, so it would appear to be a good candidate for DCEP. Beyond its core ride-sharing business, Didi is luring grocers and merchants onto its platform -- and they could also become users of the national digital tokens.Why China’s Rushing to Mint Its Own Digital Currency: QuickTakeChina’s central bank has led global peers in development of digital legal tender, with research efforts started in at least 2014. The digital currency is intended to eventually replace coins and banknotes, and could offer an alternative to the dollar-based international payments systems.“DCEP will become a key infrastructure of digital economy,” Didi said in a Chinese statement. It will work with the government to “boost the integration of the digital economy with the real economy.”Read more: China’s Digital Currency Could Challenge Bitcoin and Even the Dollar(Updates with share action in the third paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The rally comes after a major state-owned financial newspaper said that China requires a bull market to build strength, reviving memories of the bull run of 2015.
(Bloomberg) -- Once high-flying Chinese game-streaming platform Chushou TV has shuttered, becoming the latest casualty in a market increasingly dominated by Tencent Holdings Ltd.The mobile-focused streaming network’s demise on July 2 comes just two years after it received $120 million in investment from backers including Alphabet Inc.’s Google. The company, whose name translates as “tentacle,” has asked streamers who play exclusively on the platform to switch to Tencent-backed video-sharing app Kuaishou, according to an in-app notice viewed by Bloomberg News. Chushou and Google representatives didn’t respond to requests for comment sent via email.Chushou’s downfall further underscores Tencent’s supremacy in China’s game-streaming market, which iResearch estimates will generate 23.6 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) in revenue by the end of this year. Now, Tencent effectively controls the two largest platforms -- Huya Inc. and DouYu International Holdings Ltd. -- and has its own esports site eGame. In addition, the social media behemoth has stakes in fast-growing video services Kuaishou and Bilibili Inc., both of which are vying for more gaming content. Chushou said in 2018 it had 8 million unique streamers and 90 million registered users on its platform.Read more: The Billion-Dollar Race to Become China’s Amazon TwitchChina’s streaming companies live and die on fans splurging on virtual gifts to tip performers, leading to bidding wars over the top professional gamers and putting an enormous strain on smaller platforms. Last year, No. 3 player Panda TV also succumbed to competitive forces and shut down its service. Tencent, whose WeChat messaging service is the social media starting point for more than a billion people, can market its services broadly and has forged close ties with influencers, advertisers and content providers across the country.Chushou streamers complained recently online that they’ve not received their cut of virtual-gifting revenue for months and at least one influencer agency is suing Chushou for breach of contract. Last month, Shanghai Xiaren Internet Technology Ltd. secured a court order to freeze 5 million-yuan worth of assets owned by Chushou operator Hangzhou Kaixun Technology Ltd., according to court documents viewed by Bloomberg News. Other investors in Hangzhou-based Chushou include Qiming Venture Partners, GGV Capital, Shunwei Capital and Baidu Inc.’s Netflix-style iQiyi service.Tencent dominates at home but its streaming and social media efforts haven’t progressed far abroad -- something it may be looking to address. The WeChat operator has been quietly testing a mobile-focused streaming network in the U.S. since at least March. Called Trovo Live, the new service closely resembles Twitch in its appearance and functionality, and sports Tencent’s own portfolio of popular games including Fortnite and PUBG Mobile.(Updates with details on Tencent’s business in the fourth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The Indian government is reviewing around 50 investment proposals involving Chinese companies under a new screening policy, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Under new rules announced by India in April, all investments by entities based in neighbouring countries need to be approved by the Indian government, whether for new or additional funding.
The Indian government is reviewing around 50 investment proposals involving Chinese companies under a new screening policy, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Under new rules announced by India in April, all investments by entities based in neighbouring countries need to be approved by the Indian government, whether for new or additional funding.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Europe has its first $50 billion internet company: Spotify Technology SA breached the mythical barrier on Thursday. While it’s a moment worth savoring, the Swedish company isn’t entirely deserving of the inflated price tag. Unfortunately, investors seem a little out of tune with the music streaming service’s real potential.The stock has more than doubled from a March low, spurred by an aggressive push into podcasting. Since May it has signed deals with podcasting giant Joe Rogan, Superman and Wonder Woman parent DC Comics and reality TV star Kim Kardashian, adding to acquisitions such as the $230 million deal for production house Gimlet Media Inc. Altogether, it’s a $1 billion bet on a flourishing industry.It’s nice to see a European tech company finally flying high. The continent has long bemoaned its lack of a consumer-internet company to rival the giants of Silicon Valley. The continent’s tech behemoths often struggle to capture the popular imagination: Germany’s SAP SE makes enterprise software, ASML Holding NV builds machines to make semiconductors and Amsterdam-based investor Prosus NV owes its 138 billion-euro ($155 billion) valuation to a 31% stake in Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. Spotify is a rare success.The podcasting strategy of Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek is shrewd, but alone it is not going to fix Spotify’s biggest problem: paying a giant slice of revenue to the record industry for royalties. That expenditure is why it has a pitiful (for an internet company) gross margin of just 25%.Yes, podcasts will reduce the Stockholm-based firm’s dependence on music for its income, allowing it to chase higher margin advertising dollars where it won’t have to pay a cent to the record labels. But advertising is still likely to remain a small slice of total revenue. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Amine Bensaid estimates ad revenue will account for just 12% of sales by 2022, up from 8% this year. The impact on the gross margin will be limited.For sure, Spotify is concentrating on the right trends. Revenue in the U.S. podcast market is set to double to $1.4 billion by 2024, and that will help Spotify’s business slowly become more like Netflix Inc. The video streaming giant pays a flat rate for content, meaning that every additional subscriber brings incremental profit.But investors are already valuing Spotify more generously than Netflix. Including cash and debt, it’s valued at 48 times the analyst consensus for its 2024 Ebitda, a measure of earnings. Netflix is valued at just 18 times expected 2024 Ebitda. Even using the most optimistic analyst estimate for that year, Spotify is valued at more than 22 times Ebitda. Investor expectations are out of kilter with reality.What’s more, deep-pocketed rivals such as Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are also eagerly eyeing podcasts. Both firms have been seeking to develop more original shows, Bloomberg News has reported. Podcasting is a slightly different proposition for the two tech giants, since, if successful, they can subsequently be adapted for their video streaming offerings where Spotify doesn’t compete. There will be a lot of hands taking money from the increasingly lucrative podcast pot.The market reaction is hardly CEO Ek’s fault. He’s making much-needed bets to diversify his firm away from its reliance on the record industry. But investors are dancing a little too exuberantly to his melody.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Shares of Chinese search engine Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) rose 12.5% in June, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Shares got a one-two punch of good news around the middle of the month, as Baidu received an analyst upgrade on China's economic reopening. In mid-June, Mizuho analyst James Lee reiterated a "buy" rating on Baidu shares, giving the company a $175 price target, well above the $123 share price today -- even after June's surge.
Shares of iQiyi (NASDAQ: IQ) rose 39.8% in June, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. China has not one clear streaming leader, but three: iQiyi; Youku Tudou, owned by Alibaba Group Holding (NYSE: BABA); and Tencent Holdings (OTC: TCEHY) video. In June, news agencies citing people familiar with the matter reported that one of those large rivals was circling iQiyi as a possible acquisition.
China-owned social media app TikTok distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated June 28th and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok Chief Executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent Holdings LTD's WeChat and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's UC Browser, were banned in India this week following a border clash with China.
Tencent Holdings, China's biggest social media and video game company, launched a new California-based studio this week, as it looks to further expand its presence overseas. The new studio, LightSpeed LA, will be led by former Rockstar veteran Steve Martin and will focus on the development and publishing of AAA titles, Tencent Games' LightSpeed and Quantum Studios said in a statement to Reuters. "We're ushering in a new era of game culture by combining world-class development with a stress-free work environment," Martin said in the statement.
For Chinese cloud services companies, the coronavirus outbreak has become a rainmaker, bringing in new business far and wide as firms shift work online and authorities develop apps and systems to help contain outbreaks and manage social restrictions. For Tencent Holdings Ltd in particular, it has also become the perfect time to flex new muscles as it seeks to catch up with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, its arch-rival and the dominant player in the country's cloud market by far. Tencent began to display a new level of aggressiveness after positioning its cloud business as a major area of growth in September 2018, and that has only amped up amid the pandemic, employees say.
(Bloomberg) -- Colin Huang’s ascent is one for the history books: In just six months, his fortune swelled by $25 billion -- one of the biggest gains among the world’s richest people.His Pinduoduo Inc., a Groupon-like shopping app he founded in 2015, has become China’s third-largest e-commerce platform, with a market value of more than $100 billion. In the first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic caused most of the nation’s economy to grind to a halt, PDD’s active users surged 68% and revenue jumped 44%, the company said in May.Now Huang, who has overseen the firm as its American depositary receipts have more than quadrupled in less than two years, has stepped down as chief executive officer.At one point, his net worth climbed as high as $45 billion, placing him just behind China’s wealthiest people -- Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Jack Ma -- on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That’s even as PDD continued to post losses, primarily because it chases growth with the help of generous subsidies and has been known to spend more on marketing than it earns in sales.“Pinduoduo was perfectly positioned for people being stuck at home,” said Tom Ronk, CEO of Century Pacific Investments in Newport, California.Huang, who controlled 43.3% of PDD shares, has reduced his stake to 29.4%, according to a June 30 regulatory filing. His fortune now stands at $30 billion.That excludes a $2.4 billion charitable holding that he shares with PDD’s founding team, and $7.9 billion that went to Pinduoduo Partnership, of which Huang and newly named CEO Lei Chen are members. The partnership will help fund science research and management incentives, according to a letter following Huang’s resignation. The wealth estimate also excludes $3.9 billion that people familiar with the matter said was transferred to an angel investor.PDD declined to comment on Huang’s holdings or net worth.Facing ChallengesHe will remain chairman and work on the company’s long-term strategy and corporate structure to help drive the future of the e-commerce giant, PDD said.“PDD is still facing some high-level challenges in product supply, relationship with brand merchants, logistics and payments,” said Shawn Yang, an analyst at Blue Lotus Capital Advisors. “Colin may want to focus more on these issues.”PDD’s success hinges on deals, which have become particularly popular with customers looking for bargains as the world’s second-largest economy slows. Most of its users come from smaller Chinese cities, and the app gives them extra discounts when they recommend a product through social networks and get friends to buy the same item.Fen Liu, a homemaker in Quanzhou, a provincial city in Fujian, said she accrued enough coupons with her friends’ help to reduce the price of a suitcase to zero.“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my suitcase arrive in the mail,” she said. “It’s made me a loyal Pinduoduo user ever since.”‘Bargain Hunters’While PDD’s aggressive price-reduction strategies have helped win over people with lower incomes, they may stifle the company’s efforts to attract wealthier consumers, according to Charlie Chen and Veronica Shen, analysts at China Renaissance Securities in Hong Kong.“PDD’s users are largely bargain hunters reluctant to buy large-ticket items,” they wrote in a June 29 note, adding that the company’s image remains a key obstacle to users spending more. “We believe PDD is working to change its low-price brand image -- but this could be costly.”That may require heavy marketing and hurt margins further despite a strong user-base foundation for future growth, the analysts said. And PDD’s management has offered no clear path to profitability.Last year, the company’s “10 Billion RMB Subsidies” campaign, which is ongoing, led to a $2 billion increase in sales and marketing expenses to $3.9 billion, and those costs have been at 90% to 120% of revenue for the past two quarters, China Renaissance said.For the nation’s June 18 shopping festival, PDD provided a subsidy program with no cap across different product categories to push spending and attract more users. Other fast-growing Chinese startups -- including rival Meituan Dianping, ride-hailing app DiDi Chuxing and Starbucks Corp. competitor Luckin Coffee Inc. -- have also adopted subsidies strategies to maintain customer loyalty.Huang, 40, grew up in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where Alibaba has its headquarters. After receiving a degree at Zhejiang University, he went to the University of Wisconsin for a master’s in computer science. He began his career at Google in 2004 as a software engineer and returned to China in 2006 to help establish its operations in the country.He then became a serial entrepreneur. He started his first company in 2007, an e-commerce website called Ouku.com that he sold three years later after realizing it was too similar to thousands of others. He then launched Leqi, which helped companies market their services on websites like Alibaba’s Taobao or JD.com Inc., and a gaming firm that let users play on Tencent’s messaging app WeChat. Both took off and Huang found himself “financially free,” according to a 2017 interview.After getting an ear infection, he decided to retire in 2013 at age 33. But following a year of pondering what to do with his life -- he contemplated starting a hedge fund and moving to the U.S. -- he came up with the idea of combining e-commerce and social media. At the time, Alibaba dominated the online business, and WeChat became a must-have application on smartphones in China.The tables have turned since. In 2018, Alibaba launched a PDD-style app in an attempt to lure smaller-town users with bargains. It came months before Huang took his company public in New York, raising $1.63 billion in its July 2018 initial public offering. Since then, PDD has surged 389%, while Alibaba has gained just 13%.In 2017, Huang had said he was unlikely to spend the rest of his life at PDD. While he’s still chairman of the company, he now wants to give more responsibility to younger colleagues to keep the entrepreneurial spirit as PDD matures, he wrote in a letter to employees.“We envision Pinduoduo to be an organization that creates value for the public rather than being a showoff trophy for a few or carry too much personal color,” Huang said. “This will allow Pinduoduo to continually evolve with or without us one day.”(Updates PDD, Alibaba moves in 22nd paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected Fen Liu’s location.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The national security law China imposed on Hong Kong this week will damage civil liberties with long jail sentences and grant immunity to Chinese agents working in the territory. For investors who depend on the city as a financial center, though, there may be an extra sting in the tail.The law could increase self-censorship by Hong Kong’s analysts and economists, and damage the credibility of research reports, the Financial Times reported this week. The need to maintain relationships with mainland clients has influenced coverage in the past, but many fear the new law will exacerbate this trend.It’s a bit late to be worrying about that, though. Self-censorship isn’t just a matter of avoiding gratuitous digs and glib phrases. If you look at the ratings given by equity analysts in recent years, it seems to include portraying companies with strong mainland connections as better investments than they actually are.Take the 50 companies on the Hang Seng Index. You can easily break them into three groups: 15 Chinese state-owned enterprises, or SOEs, such as Bank of China Ltd. and PetroChina Ltd.; 13 civilian-controlled mainland Chinese businesses, or COEs, such as Tencent Ltd. and Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd.; and 22 other, mostly locally controlled stocks, such as HSBC Holdings Plc, CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. and AIA Group Ltd(1). Then look at the extent to which analysts’ consensus target prices have exceeded actual stock prices in recent years. SOEs get the most favorable treatment, with target prices exceeding actual prices by an average of 24% since the start of 2016, compared to 16% for the COEs and 13% for non-mainland companies.It’s not just in Hong Kong that brokers’ target prices tend to run higher than the actual market — there’s a reason they’re called sell-side analysts. China is still an emerging market, too, so it’s not impossible that its stocks simply have more upside than those operating out of a mature economy such as Hong Kong. So perhaps the reason state-owned enterprises get a target price premium over local companies is simply that they’re better investments that will deliver higher returns to investors?If only. Thanks to booming tech and biotech stocks and the huge run-up in prices during 2017, civilian-owned Chinese companies did achieve pretty stunning average total returns of 31% over the past four-and-a-half years. SOEs, however, averaged a measly 1.9%, far less than the 6.1% achieved by the non-mainland stocks.It’s not totally irrational that possessing a wealthy patron should be seen as an advantage for some investments. The Chinese state tends to put its thumb heavily on the scales in favor of its own organs, with diminishing benefits the further you get from the commanding heights of the economy, as my colleague Shuli Ren has written.In particular, it’s logical for credit analysts to give state-owned enterprises a better rating than those that can’t count on the backing of the Chinese government to bail them out. Even there, you’ve not been paying attention if you think the interests of private bondholders are going to be treated equally with those of better-connected investors.Still, when looking at the equity market, the proof should be in the pudding. If analysts predict a stock will consistently outperform — as they tend to do in relation to SOEs — then it should do that. If not, they’re either bad at their jobs or misleading their clients.There are many things to worry about in Hong Kong’s new national security law. The integrity of equity research is probably not one of them. Sell-side brokers themselves gave that away long ago.(1) We've equal-weighted each of these baskets of stocks so that a few stocks with huge market caps like Tencent, HSBC or China Construction Bank don't skew the overall result.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.David Fickling is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities, as well as industrial and consumer companies. He has been a reporter for Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Guardian.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.