Tencent’s ‘Pony’ Ma: Meet the brand new king of social media

He is one among China’s richest males — THE richest, based on some rankings — with a web price of roughly $42 billion.

His enterprise pursuits vary from social media to synthetic intelligence, and his firm has invested in Snapchat and Tesla. The most recent information: The tech big he based is more valuable than Mark Zuckerberg’s Fb (FB, Tech30).

However who’s Ma Huateng?

The founding father of Tencent — nicknamed “Pony” due to a surname that interprets to “horse” in English — is notoriously press shy, and barely grants interviews.

Ma labored within the pager enterprise after graduating from southern China’s Shenzhen College in 1993 with a level in laptop science.

From pagers to messaging platforms

However it wasn’t till 5 years after leaving school that the low-profile businessman based Tencent (TCEHY), and started work on the communications platforms that might flip the corporate into a world tech titan.

Tencent developed a repute as a copycat in its early days, and was accused of taking western merchandise and adapting them for the Chinese language market. Its PC messaging platform, for instance, intently resembled an identical product from AOL.

However the web agency would later strike gold with WeChat, a cellular messaging service that’s now utilized by virtually 1 billion folks.

WeChat is about way over simply messaging, nevertheless. It serves because the lynchpin of a product ecosystem that features search, social networks and fee platforms.

Tencent has additionally constructed a large cellular gaming enterprise, posting gross sales of over $10 billion final 12 months due to vastly common titles like “Conflict of Clans” and “Honor of Kings.”

Ma, 46, owns an eight.6% stake in Tencent, based on a regulatory submitting made in October. Each the corporate’s share worth and his private wealth have greater than doubled over the previous 12 months.

Gifting away $2 billion

Final 12 months, Ma pledged to donate more than $2 billion to numerous causes in China together with healthcare and schooling.

He has additionally served as a deputy to the Nationwide Individuals’s Congress, a marquee occasion for the nation’s ruling Communist Occasion.

Ma’s public persona contrasts sharply with that of his chief Chinese language rival, Alibaba (BABA, Tech30) founder Jack Ma.

The 2 males, who should not associated, have spent the previous few years trading places at the top of China’s wealth rankings. Jack Ma is chatty by comparability, granting frequent interviews in English.

Pony Ma, nevertheless, has extra to boast about not too long ago: When it surpassed Fb (FB, Tech30) on Tuesday, Tencent additionally beat Alibaba (BABA, Tech30) in turning into the primary Chinese language firm to hit a market worth of $500 billion.

CNNMoney (New Delhi) First printed November 21, 2017: 9:52 AM ET

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