Watch out Facebook, Tencent is following you. On Wednesday, shares in the Chinese online games and messaging service provider jumped as much as 6 per cent after revealing second-quarter revenues up 50 per cent year on year. Net profit rose by a similar proportion, beating analysts’ forecasts by 10 percentage points. The figures are impressive for a $250bn company, and Tencent still has plenty of growth potential.
Tencent remains reliant on gaming and subscription revenues, which make up three-quarters of the total. Mobile game revenues, in particular, more than doubled year on year. Subscriptions also grew strongly, confirming the company’s ability to charge for content previously free in China, such as music and video.
Its other businesses, however, show the most promise. Tencent has barely begun to profit from the 800m monthly active users of its messaging apps, which double as social network accounts. The potential in advertising as well as marketing fees is substantial. Despite growing by 60 per cent, advertising revenues were less than $1bn. In its second quarter, Facebook made nearly all of its $6bn top line from ads. And according to China Skinny, a China-based marketing consultant, there are more stores on Wechat — mostly run by individuals, but some also branded — than there are on Alibaba’s Taobao. Christian Dior, the French atelier, recently sold a limited-edition handbag through a social posting on Wechat, reportedly selling out in just one day.
不过，显示出最大前景的是腾讯在其他方面的业务。腾讯几乎才刚刚开始从其消息应用每月8亿的活跃用户身上盈利，这些应用也被用作社交网络账户。广告费和营销推广费潜力十分可观。尽管腾讯的广告营收增长了60%，但总额还不到10亿美元。而今年第二季度，Facebook的60亿美元营收几乎都来自广告。而根据总部在中国的营销咨询公司China Skinny的说法，目前微信(WeChat)上的商店(这些商店多数由个人运营，但部分商店也有品牌)比阿里巴巴(Alibaba)的淘宝(Taobao)上还多。法国工作室克里斯汀•迪奥(Christian Dior)最近曾通过微信上的社交帖销售一款限量版手袋，据报道该手袋仅仅一天就售罄。
So payments, too, show promise. The “other” division, in which they are lumped with cloud services, grew nearly fourfold, but is still less than one-tenth of the top line. Yet of China’s 710m “netizens”, a smaller proportion play games than shop or make payments online, according to government data. China’s internet is underpenetrated, too. Just over half of the population is connected to the internet, compared with four-fifths of the US. Yet China’s users are far more mobile with their usage, which also plays to Tencent’s strengths.
Tencent looks like a game-maker for now. Its true potential will emerge as it becomes more like Facebook.