Alibaba Loses Title Of Most Valuable Chinese Tech Firm

Alibaba is no more the most valuable Chinese tech company as Tencent — the owner of popular messaging app WeChat — took the title on Thursday. Spreadbettor IG compiled data showing that Tencent’s market cap was at HK$1.9103 trillion (or around US$246.35 billion) at 10:40 a.m. HK/SIN, compared to U.S.-listed Alibaba’s market cap of $242.04 billion.


Strong numbers for Tencent

On Wednesday, Tencent crushed forecasts for its second quarter earnings amid robust growth in mobile gaming and advertising. The company reported total revenue at 35.69 billion yuan ($5.38 billion) — 52% higher on a YOY basis — and was ahead of analysts’ estimates of 33.2 billion yuan. Operating profit was reported at 14.33 billion yuan, 43% higher than the year-earlier period.

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A rise of 34% was seen in the number of monthly active user accounts on Tencent’s social WeChat/Weixin platform. As a result, Hong Kong-listed shares of Tencent went up 5.08% in morning trade on Thursday, eventually pushing its market cap ahead of Alibaba’s. On a year-to-date basis, Tencent is also the best-performing stock on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, up 26.56%.

Tencent’s earnings received a warm response from analysts, who offered a round of target price increases, citing Tencent’s bet on dominating the online and mobile gaming space. The bulk of the company’s second-quarter revenue came from online gaming. The revenue of this segment grew 32% on a YOY basis to 17.24 billion yuan with smartphone games being the main drivers.

Analysts expect key titles such as Honor of King and JX Mobile to deliver robust performances. In an effort to deepen its presence in the gaming space, Tencent led a consortium in June to acquire a majority stake in Supercell, a Finnish game maker that produced popular titles such as Clash of Clans and Clash Royale.

Tencent, Alibaba different than Baidu

Tencent’s overtaking of Alibaba in market cap does not mean that either “company faced much competition for the top ranks of China’s tech universe,” including Baidu, says CNBC.

Morningstar’s senior equity analyst, Marie Sun, told CNBC, “Tencent and Alibaba’s fundamentals are much better than Baidu, in terms of the platform business model and also the monetization momentum currently.”

Sun noted that Alibaba and Tencent offer numerous Internet services and content, especially on mobile, while for Baidu, its key revenue generator is its search business and online advertising. An Alibaba spokesperson told CNBC that their strategy is not guided by stock performance.

“Alibaba has proven its unique competitive position and a strong foundation for sustainable growth,” the executive said. Last week, the Chinese e-commerce giant reported better than expected revenue.