Tencent: the biggest web company you’ve never heard of

Tencent's chance of success will depend on the right partnerships with local companies.

That's certainly something Tencent realises. Xiong has previously said the firm's core strength is "patience", and CEO Pony Ma has previously said that Tencent "will be very careful in controlling the pace of our investments."

"Tencent's chance of success will depend on the right partnerships with local companies," Heng added.

Xiong also told TechCrunch in 2010 that the firm would be buying at least one significant Silicon Valley company in the future, and Tencent's considered expansion plans - to expand its core areas, such as online gaming and social networking, alongside new areas like search and advertising - tackle many of the areas that firm such as Google have recently exploited.

Tencent sits at the centre of a perfect storm, then: relentless growth, massive revenue, and an already-huge userbase in one of the world's biggest and fastest-growing economies. Western expansion might not happen overnight, with the firm clearly playing a long game, but the evidence is clear: ignore Tencent and you might ignore the web's next superpower.

Mike Jennings


Mike Jennings has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has been fascinated by computers since childhood, when he spent far too long building terrible websites. He loves desktop PCs, components, laptops and anything to do with the latest hardware.

Mike worked as a staff writer at PC Pro magazine in London for seven years, and during that time wrote for a variety of other tech titles, including Custom PC, Micro Mart and Computer Shopper. Since 2013, he’s been a freelance tech writer, and writes regularly for titles like Wired, TechRadar, Stuff, TechSpot, IT Pro, TrustedReviews and TechAdvisor. He still loves tech and covers everything from the latest business hardware and software to high-end gaming gear, and you’ll find him on plenty of sites writing reviews, features and guides on a vast range of topics.

You can email Mike at mike@mike-jennings.net, or find him on Twitter at @mikejjennings