Tencent says 2018 was best year for investments, looks for more

China’s Tencent Holdings has provided a detailed review of its investment performance for the first time, saying 2018 was its best year and vowing to look for more opportunities despite a challenging outlook and concerns it is losing focus.

President Martin Lau told a closed-door investor conference in Beijing last month that the Chinese social media and gaming giant had invested in more than 700 companies in the past 11 years.

Of those 63 were now listed while 122 were valued at more than $1 billion, according to a transcript of his remarks seen by Reuters.

Last year was a record in terms of listings, with 16 Tencent-backed companies going public, he said.

The Chinese social media and gaming giant peaked in value in January 2018 before dropping sharply after its core business was affected by a government crackdown on the gaming sector, losing around $114 billion in market capitalisation with a 23 percent stock price drop in the year.

Some analysts criticised Tencent for relying too heavily on investment while its core business growth slowed.

Yet Lau said the firm intended to invest on the same scale in 2019 regardless of challenges such as China’s economic slowdown and intensified competition.

It posted a better-than-expected 30 percent quarterly profit rise in November despite a gaming regulatory freeze, largely thanks to investment gains.

Tencent’s market value now stands at $409 billion, making it the second-largest company in Asia after New York-listed Alibaba Group.

The combined market value of companies in which Tencent hold a stake of 5 percent or more has exceeded $500 billion, Lau said.