2016 has been a striking year for Tencent. As one of the China’s social media and gaming giants, Tencent has become the most valuable company in Asia. Not to mention, it is also one of the top 10 in the world by market capitalization thus far.
Besides being a major player in the fields of e-commerce, information and entertainment, the firm has also been investing in the world’s biggest startups, throwing around a whooping amount of cash. Starting from the investments in Douyu TV (US $226 million), Bona Film Group (US $360 million) and finishing with the purchase of Finnish game developer Supercell (US $8.6 billion). Here’s a list with the most noteworthy bets and acquisitions made by Tencent in 2016.
US $110 million
After growing its service using WeChat, Pinduoduo, a Chinese e-commerce platform, has scooped US $110 million in Series B funding round led by Tencent, Banyan Capital and New Horizon Capital. Founded in 2015, Pinduoduo records a daily transaction volume of over RMB 10 million. It mainly provides food, cosmetics and other deals.
US $150 million
The Beijing-based online used-car market place RenRenChe added a handful of new investors for its growing second-hand autoservice in 2016. As has been reported by Sina Tech, the company received US $150 million in Series C round from Tencent in September. Other investors included Shunwei Ventures, Ceyuan Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Hanfor Capital Management Ltd., and more. To point out, since the initial launch in April 2014, RenRenChe has reached a monthly transaction volume of 18,000. It is roughly one transaction every three minutes.
US $155 million
This Chinese biotech startup has scooped RMB 1 billion (US $155 million) in series A funding round. The company valued a whooping US $1 billion just a few months after being founded. Established by the former CEO of the Beijing Genomic Institute (BGI) Wang Jun in October 2015, iCarbonX has big plans to build a health-related big data platform with the artificial intelligence to interpret and mine the data. As Wang Jun believes, this biotech system will enable a team of biotech and AI/big data experts to create health management solutions and find medical breakthroughs.
US $175 million
India’ s new tech unicorn and WhatsApp’s main rival closed US $175 million in funding led by Tencent and manufacturing firm Foxconn. Not to mention a total US $1.4 billion valuation in the Series D round. As Tencent’s president Martin Lau stated: “Hike deeply understands India; a highly diverse market with many nuances. It is on a mission synergistic to ours, which is to enhance the quality of human life through internet services. With our investment, Hike will be able to leverage our deep domain expertise in the messaging platform space to provide more value to its users in India.”
US $226 million
Focused on mobile and PC gaming, Douyu TV has raised over US $226 million led by Tencent and Phoenix Capital in Series C financing round. What’s impressive is that among the ten most popular games streamed by Douyu, six are already produced by Tencent. The company claims more than 100 million registered users including 15 million daily active users according to the latest statistics.
Bona Film Group
US $360 million
It was a rare investment made by the two long-time rivals. Bona Film Group, China’s leading distribution and production company, has scooped US $360 million from Alibaba and Tencent last year. Other investors included China Development Bank Capital Corp. (CDB Capital), Zhongzhi Enterprise, ICBC, CITIC GoldStone Investment, and many others. It must be remembered that Bona Film Group is the first Chinese entertainment company to be listed on NASDAQ. In 2016 the company produced 13 Chinese movies, making over RMB 3.7 billion (US $533 million) during last year.
US $464 million
Initially, an online movie ticket selling platform based on WePiao App and WeChat, WePiao has raised over US $464 million led by Tencent, China Media Capital (CMC), KEMIAN, and China Everbright Group in Series C. After the last funding round, WePiao valued over $1.6 billion, which made the company the fastest growing Unicorn in China. It is impressive how fast the platform has grown. Founded in 2014, it has already expanded beyond movie tickets and has partnered with over 1,200 theaters, exhibition pavilions, and stadiums.
US $550 million
In August, China’s three largest Internet companies, Tencent, Baidu and JD have led an injection of US $550 million into Chinese leading automotive information service BitAuto Holdings. Upon completion of the deal in June, Tencent, Baidu and JDtook 7.1%, 3.2% and 23.5% of the company’s shares, respectively.
US $926 million
Earlier in April, Lianjia, Chinese O2O real estate agency service provider backed by Huasheng Capital, Hillhouse Capital and Tencent Holdings Ltd completed US $926 million Series B financing round led by Huasheng Capital as a main investor. Tencent has also joined the funding round together with Baidu as strategic investors.
China Internet Plus
US $3.3 billion
China Internet Plus, a last year merger of China’s two most popular daily deals sites, Dianping and Meituan, has raised a record-breaking US $3.3 billion in Series F led by Tencent and Trust Bridge Partners. In this case, it became the largest non-IPO funding round ever raised in the tech industry. The two companies still continue to operate separately.
US $8.6 billion
The acquisition of Finnish mobile game developer Supercell for an estimated US $8.6 billion was by far the most successful deal that marked the single biggest investment in video games industry that Tencent ever made. The Chinese tech giant already owns League of Legends developer Riot Games. It also has a minority stakes in Epic Games, the team behind Gears of War, South Korean firm CJ Games and Japanese company Aiming, GluMobile and Activision Blizzard.
In 2017 Tencent continues its investment fling into the world’s largest startups. As for now, Mobike has already announced US $215 million in Series D funding led by China’s Internet giant. We promise to keep on tracking Tencent’s investment sprees, stay tuned.