Chinese heavyweight Tencent leads the way to a digitally reformed China

As a new, modernized Chinese republic comes to fruition, tech companies have been taking advantage of the gradual changes being seen by its citizens. Tencent, mother company of the app WeChat, has been paving the way into leading tech and social media companies around the country.

Surpassing Jack Ma’s Alibaba with a market value of an astounding $355 billion (Alibaba is worth $307 billion), Tencent Holdings is proving that its success and longevity is more than just a business, and that it is more than just about the money.


Alibaba is a household name in China but Tencent has overtaken the tech giant in market value


The company has been showing a different side of it through its philanthropic efforts. Disrupted by the Wenchuan earthquake last 2008, Tencent co-founder Charles Chen wanted to find a way to encourage people to help. By 2013, Chen and his team added a philanthropic site to social platform WeChat. Named Tencent Charity, the site adapted technological additions to recreate familiar charitable functions.

In place of charity boxes, for example, they created an online payment site that allows users to donate a minimum of less than $1 through the app’s e-payment system. Users can choose from various diverse causes (about 24,000 individual causes globally), and get updated about the recipients’ progress via SMS.

Charity runs, on the other hand, come in the e-form of step donation. This uses a pedometer type of technology, which can then be partnered with different institutions.


Tencent’s WeChat is the leading social-messaging app in China and is already expanding to Europe and US


Users also get an option to “donate their voice” by reading stories for the blind. These, then, will be turned into audio books for the visually impaired.

These activations are the first of its kind. Callum Douglas, director of corporate responsibility at PwC China, says he’s never seen anything else like it. This, along with humungous donations from Tencent founders, has been making waves and inspiring others to donate as well.

Tencent doesn’t leave this blast of changes in the philanthropic department, however, as they’ve recently added a new feature to WeChat that allows users to share content on both Facebook and Twitter. Both platforms are blocked in China, although loopholes allow users with VPN to access the sites. This move is a potential globalization scheme for the company, as it is currently focused in China. Continuing in this direction will provide Tencent an opportunity to reach not only the Chinese abroad, but to capture the global market as a whole




Callum Douglas, PwC