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

Something big is happening in the world of web in China. Mike Jennings takes alook at the potential of Tencent.

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.

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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.

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