49-year-old Ma Huateng is currently the richest man in the most populous country in the world. Ma Huateng who is also called “Pony Ma” by fans, is the Chairman and Founder of Tencent Holdings, China’s biggest Internet enterprise.
Ma Huateng is currently worth $64.6bn surpassing Zhong Shanshan who is currently at $62.5bn according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s index
Ma Huateng is also the youngest amongst the first 15 multi-billionaires in the world.
At 49 years old, he is the Chairman of Tencent, a company listed amongst the biggest companies in the world by the sheer size of its market capitalization.
Road To riches
Ma Huateng founded Tencent 5 years after graduating from the University of Shenzhen where he studied Computer science. He teamed up with 4 of his colleagues in school to found the business. Tencent is the internet company behind the social media giant WeChat with over 1 billion users.
QQ and WeChat
Tencent’s first product (QQ) was an instant messaging app that connected early adopters of desktop computers and mobile phones. It quickly became China’s largest instant-messaging platform according to the Wall Street Journal.
The company enjoyed early success with QQ. In the coming years, it raised over $32 million in investment and went public in 2004.
In 2011, it launched its most successful product to date – the giant social media platform, wechat.com with over a billion users. In the massive Chinese online market where Facebook and WhatsApp are banned, WeChat enjoys a large share of the market. It also offers its users additional features like shopping, gaming etc.
Tencent primarily makes money from advertisement and premium subscribers.
Tencent’s diversified portfolio
Ma Huateng of Tencent is obviously a fan of diversified investment. The company has spread its tentacles to various areas and markets, mostly in the United States.
According To CNBC, Tencent has invested in the following companies:
1. It has a 5% stake in Tesla
2. A 10% stock swap with Spotify
3. A 10% stake in Snap
Ma Huateng is referred to as Pony Ma by his large and youthful fan base. He is not related to Alibaba founder Jack Ma; both billionaires, however, share mutual respect.
Ma Huateng is currently worth $63.4bn and is the biggest success story from the streets of Shenzhen which is often referred to as China’s Silicon Valley.
He is the latest richest man in China.
What you should know
- Ma Huateng and his colleagues did one simple thing. They founded a social media platform for their home country.
- Ma Huateng is a strong beneficiary of the long-standing ‘China First’ policy of the Chinese Communist Party.
- In a world where other countries are relying on US tech companies like Facebook and Apple for their tech products, the Chinese have always insisted on building their own and Ma Huateng is a product of such ideology.