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HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s biggest social network and gaming firm Tencent Holdings, which last week reported forecast-beating quarterly results, is close to making Malaysia the first foreign country to roll out its WeChat ecosystem, an executive told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Tencent’s booth is pictured at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) 2017 in Beijing, China April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
If you’re using a messaging app in China, chances are it’s owned by Tencent – a leading provider of web-based services in China that owns WeChat, as well as a whole host of social media platforms, entertainment subsidiaries and payment services. With an increasing amount of global brand awareness, the time had come for Tencent to expand its corporate typographic voice in line with its ambitions. The company approached Monotype to design a bespoke typeface, based on its existing logo, that could convey its vision of “innovation, responsibility and enablement”.

Tencent has made a “breakthrough” in gaining an e-payment license in Malaysia for local transactions, and plans a launch early next year, senior vice president S.Y. Lau said in an interview.

The move pits Shenzhen-based Tencent against rival Alibaba Group as they scramble for new growth opportunities outside China. Tencent this week became the first Asian firm to enter the club of companies worth more than $500 billion, and on Tuesday surpassed Facebook in market value.

“Malaysia is actually quite large in the sense that we have 20 million WeChat users, huge potential, and the market is quite warm towards internet products from China,” Lau said.

Southeast Asia, home to more than 600 million people and some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, has been a key battleground for China’s tech titans fighting for deals. Ethnic Chinese make up more than a fifth of Malaysia’s population.

WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s Alipay, which dominate China’s digital payment market, have sought to expand their global footprint, although that push has so far been limited to payment services for Chinese outbound tourists. They can scan-and-pay for purchases in 34 countries or regions via Alipay and 13 via WeChat Pay, according to the companies.

Alipay’s parent company Ant Financial has joint ventures in seven markets for local digital payments services, which operate independently under the partnerships’ brand names.

Alibaba is looking to build a global payment system, while Tencent is more interested in generating traffic for WeChat – two different strategies, some bankers and investors say.

WeChat has more users, but Alipay’s aggregate transaction volume is higher, according to JP Morgan’s John Hall, though other investors note that WeChat Pay can also process large transactions if it’s used on e-commerce platforms.

GLOBAL EXPANSION

One challenge for Tencent, say analysts, is that its success in China cannot be easily exported to other markets.

Tencent is “not in a hurry” to speed up its overseas expansion or increase the monetization rate of its digital assets, Lau said.

“We walk our own path at our own pace … and, to be honest, there is really quite a lot to do in China,” he said.

WeChat, which has ballooned from a messaging app to an all-in-one platform with 980 million monthly active users, could be the “killer product” to spearhead expansion abroad, Lau said, as its embedded payment function draws more services.

WeChat, with an open platform of mini-programs, was a key revenue contributor for Tencent in the third quarter. Social and other advertising revenue rose 63 percent, while payment and cloud helped “other business” post a 143 percent jump

“Honour of Kings”, Tencent’s top-grossing battle game that led an 84 percent increase in quarterly smartphone gaming revenue, also owes its success to the network help of WeChat, and is expected to find it tougher to crack Western markets, analysts say.

Tencent this month delayed the launch of the game’s U.S. edition, “Arena of Valor”, to next year to “further polish additional gameplay and social features”.

After games and social media, most of Tencent’s other businesses are in digital content, including Spotify equivalent Tencent Music and YouTube equivalent Tencent Video, which also makes its own dramas.

CULTURE CHALLENGE

Lau said the ultimate aim was to export culture from China to the rest of the world, rather than the other way round, which he acknowledged was challenging.

“What we’re aiming to create is ‘super IPs’ (intellectual property) that leverage our different businesses from upstream to downstream,” Lau said, citing Disneyland and the James Bond movies as successful practices in the West.

A big business for Tencent’s recently listed publishing arm, China Literature, is to sell its popular novels and have them turned into dramas and video games by Tencent’s other business lines.

Tencent this month announced a plan involving 10 billion yuan ($1.51 billion) of investment to boost its creative content ecosystem, though it gave no time frame for the investment.

Company president Martin Lau – no relation to S.Y. – said on an earnings call last week that Tencent would keep investing in digital content, especially online video, to draw more time from more paying customers.

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Overseas acquisitions will remain a key way of enhancing Tencent’s global access and competitiveness, S.Y. Lau said.

Independent technology analyst Richard Windsor said Tencent’s 2016 acquisition of Supercell gave it a strong position in gaming, while the move to buy a stake in social media firm Snapchat is another piece in the jigsaw.

“It increasingly looks as if Tencent is embarking on a circumnavigation of the digital life pie in order to build an ecosystem to challenge the Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook dominance of consumer digital services,” he said, noting it’s at a “super early stage” in that process.

Tencent will likely seek more overseas acquisitions, Windsor added, which, beyond being expensive, could challenge Tencent in integrating all its digital assets at home and abroad.

Tencent has struggled to monetize its dominance over the Chinese digital life, he said, adding that’s why he sees more upside in Tencent’s market valuation, and prefers it to Alibaba.

Henry Sapiecha

After months of speculation, Twitter has finally set its initial public offering in motion.

twitter logo  blue on black image www.socialselect.net

A few minutes ago, Twitter sent out a tweet on its own Twitter account saying that it had “confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO.”

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the news to CNET but didn’t elaborate.

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By saying that the filing was “confidentially” submitted to the SEC, Twitter was taking advantage of a provision under the 2012 JOBS Act which allows companies to file a registration with the SEC and then get feedback from the SEC on the filing. This is a JOBS Act benefit allowed companies with annual revenue of under $1 billion in their most recent fiscal year. “Only after that give and take,” said Jay Ritter, a professor of finance at the University of Florida, “if they still want to go public…is it required to file a public registration that the world can see.”

The seven-year-old Twitter, which to date has raised $1.16 billion in venture capital, and which employs more than 2,000 people, currently has more than 200 million monthly active users. It was recently forecasted by eMarketer to come close to $1 billion in advertising revenue in 2014. EMarketer also anticipated that Twitter will net 1.85 percent — or roughly $308 million — of the $16.65 billion worldwide mobile ad market this year.

By going through the confidential process, Ritter said, Twitter was indicating that it is highly confident it will go ahead with its IPO. That’s because otherwise, it risks the embarrassment of having the IPO fall apart, something that would not be the case if it hadn’t said anything. However, it’s also likely that Twitter was trying to get out in front of speculation that it was preparing its IPO.

According to Ritter, the timing of Twitter’s announcement today suggests that it is roughly three months from going public. About a month from now, he added, Twitter will likely file its formal registration statement.

Twitter’s announcement comes at a time when the climate for Internet IPOs has markedly improved. In the first months after Facebook’s initially disastrous IPO, most thought that Twitter’s hopes for going public had sunk with Facebook’s stock. But just yesterday, Facebook’s stock, on the strength of dramatically improved mobile revenues, hit its all-time high. Indeed, in an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt yesterday, Facebook CEO said Twitter should not be afraid of going public.

Twitter’s IPO fortunes have generally been tied to that of Facebook because of the similarities of the two companies. In a recent report, Pew found that as of May 2013, 72 percent of online U.S. adults use social networking sites, up from 67 percent in late 2012. Clearly, then, the market for companies like Facebook and Twitter is growing.

Twitter, too, has been preparing for its IPO for quite some time, acquiring companies and making feature decisions geared towards maximizing revenues

AAA

Henry Sapiecha

black diamonds on white line

HEARSAY SOCIAL TO EXPAND WORLDWIDE AFTER RAISING $30M CAPITAL

money community

(Reuters) – Internet company Hearsay Social has raised $30 million in funding which it said would help accelerate product development and international expansion.

San Francisco-based Hearsay said on Thursday that its latest round of funding came from venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and NEA, which have both previously invested in the company.

Hearsay, whose tools help businesses use social networks such as Facebook Inc, LinkedIn Corp and Twitter to generate sales, said it has more than doubled its number of customers during the last twelve months, adding financial services firms such as Raymond James, Bank of the West and Nationwide Insurance among others.

With roughly 100 employees, Hearsay expects to increase its work force and its product capabilities to better target customers in various industries and geographic regions, Chief Executive Clara Shih told Reuters. Shih said that Hearsay would also be more aggressive in acquiring other companies.

Founded in 2009, Hearsay has raised $51 million to date.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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Henry Sapiecha

black diamonds on white line

FACEBOOK GOING PUBLIC RAISES ITS VALUE  IN THE MARKETPLACE
Facebook financial info

ITS GLOBAL user base is climbing inexorably towards 1 billion and next week, when it floats as a public company, Facebook is expected to be valued at a staggering $US95 billion. But to the company you are worth as little as $4.54 a year.

That’s the amount of money Facebook is likely to earn in advertising revenue this year from each of its 11 million Australian users, despite the fact that Australians spend more time on the social networking site than anywhere else.

It is marginally more than the global average but less than half the amount of dollars that each American and Canadian generates for the company.

Yet analysts expect an increase in advertising after Facebook goes public next week, as the pressure mounts from shareholders to lift the average revenue per user to higher levels.

Advertisers typically use Facebook as a cheap means of getting to lots of people with simple ads that appear on the right hand side of a person’s page.

SocialNetAdd

John Miskelly, a director of the media buying agency MediaCom, said more and varied types of ads might appear, including handing over the entire home page to a single advertiser for the day, an increase in banner ads and more advertising messages appearing in a user’s news feed, a space usually dedicated for personal posts.

He also raises the prospect that Facebook may open up the reams of data that it compiles on users to allow big spending advertisers to access it directly to serve tailored advertising to users.

At the moment advertisers do not have direct access to the data but rather they give Facebook a wish list of who they want to target, based on basic information such as age, gender and interests, and then Facebook places the ads on their behalf.

Facebook aggregates users into ”types” based on the information they hand over but mining that information more deeply would give advertisers more and deeper knowledge about people they want to target with ads.
Social Loot

”Getting hold of that kind of data would be a marketer’s dream. It’s a goldmine. It would really improve the targeting with their other online advertising as they would be reaching the right people with their messages,” Mr Miskelly said.

The editor of Social Media News, David Cowling, expects mobile phone users will see more ads appear on their handset screen, an area the company has yet to exploit but has flagged as an area of growth.

Mr Cowling puts the lower ad revenue per user in Australia down to the fact that to date few small businesses are using Facebook for advertising.

He said Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerburg, who will remain a large shareholder, would resist commercialising the site too much. ”He is always focused on new products and making the site better. Generating new revenues has never really been his goal. Whether that remains the case after the IPO [float] remains to be seen.”
SocialNetAdd

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

YouTube founders’

Delicious new venture

April 28, 2011 – 11:39AM

Yahoo! has sold Delicious to YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who promised to continue and grow the popular social bookmarking site.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Hurley and Chen, who sold YouTube to Google for $US1.65 billion in 2006, said they planned to integrate Delicious with their new San Mateo, California-based internet company AVOS.

“We’re excited to work with this fantastic community and take Delicious to the next level,” AVOS chief executive Hurley said in a statement.

“We see a tremendous opportunity to simplify the way users save and share content they discover anywhere on the web,” Hurley said.

The YouTube co-founders said they would seek to use Delicious to “develop innovative features to help solve the problem of information overload.”

“We see this problem not just in the world of video, but also cutting across every information-intensive media type,” Chen said.

Yahoo! said it will continue to operate Delicious until July, when users will transitioned over to AVOS.

Yahoo! said the sale of Delicious was part of a product strategy that “involves shifting our investment with off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation.”

“We believe this is the right move for the service, our users and our shareholders and look forward to watching the Delicious technology develop,” Yahoo! said.

Delicious, which has millions of users around the world, was launched in 2003 and bought by Yahoo! in 2005.

AFP   Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Facebook investors heading

for the exits as value hits $70bn

April 28, 2011 – 10:19AM

A group of Facebook shareholders is seeking to offload $US1 billion worth of shares on the secondary market, a sale that would value the company at more than $US70 billion, according to five sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

It would represent one of the largest transactions of Facebook shares to date and points to a growing wariness among early-stage investors and employees who fear Facebook’s growth cannot keep pace with its market valuation.

The sellers have lowered their price after previously trying to offload shares at a price that valued the company at $US90 billion, which would make Facebook more valuable than Time Warner and News Corp combined. But buyers balked.

“At the current valuation where it is, it is really hard to justify the investment,” said Sumeet Jain, partner at venture capital firm CMEA Capital, who has examined Facebook deals recently and has taken a pass. “It’s hard to imagine it will turn into a $US270 billion company in the next few years.”

The current deal, which includes stock held by Facebook employees, is awaiting approval from top Facebook executives including Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman, according to two sources.

Facebook declined to comment.

Investors, ranging from venture capital firms to rich individuals to investment banks, have scrambled to get a piece of the privately held company before its expected IPO next year.

Facebook raised $US500 million from Goldman Sachs Group, and Russia’s Digital Sky Technologies, for instance, giving it a market value of $US50 billion. Weeks later, private equity firm General Atlantic piled into the company, valuing it at $US65 billion, according to CNBC.

Tim Draper, the well known venture capital partner who founded Draper Fisher Jurvetson, told Reuters this month he recently looked at buying shares of Facebook deals, but passed because of an unattractive valuation.

One wealthy person, who has fielded calls for the past month involving Facebook pitches in the range of $US200 million to $US1 billion, is also sitting on the sidelines.

“It’s priced to perfection in the private marketplace,” said the person, who did not want to be named. The person said the pitches implied a valuation of $US90 billion. “I don’t like to own anything I can’t sell right now.”

Created in a Harvard University dorm room in 2004, Facebook rocketed from an online directory created for college students to the world’s No. 1 social network with more than 500 million members worldwide.

The company’s astounding growth and popularity have put some of the internet’s biggest guns on notice – including Google – and have made it the darling of investors seeking to stake out claims in private companies before they go public.

Facebook, the world’s No. 1 internet social network, earned $US355 million in net income in the first nine months of 2010 on revenue of $US1.2 billion.

It is one of a handful of internet companies including Twitter, Groupon and Zynga whose soaring valuations recall the heady days of the late 1990s.

It is questionable whether new investors would realize the exponential growth that early-stage investors got in Facebook, said Oppenheimer & Co managing director Stephen Todd Walker.

That’s particularly true, he said, as the company faces more competition abroad from social networking sites like China’s Renren Inc, which is expected to go public next week.

“For Facebook, the larger you get, the harder it is to have that explosive growth,” said Walker.

Nonetheless, an array of investors has piled into Facebook. Mutual fund giant T. Rowe Price recently disclosed that several of its funds owned stakes in Facebook, valuing the company at $US25 per share, which implies a valuation of $US50 billion.

Yet one hedge fund manager who passed on smaller Facebook deals recently said that, for him, the opportunity to get in on the action had passed.

“By the time T. Rowe Price is investing,” he said, “you know it’s too late.”

Reuters

Sourced & [published by Henry Sapiecha

SEC probes trading

in private Internet firms: reports

BANGALORE | Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:20am EST

BANGALORE (Reuters) – The U.S. securities regulator is looking into trading in privately-held Internet companies including Facebook and Twitter, media reports said, citing people familiar with the inquiry.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has sent letters to several people trading in the stock of these companies, seeking information about topics that include how such funds are valuing shares of those firms, the Wall Street Journal reported.

SEC spokesman John Nester declined to comment to Reuters on the Journal report.

An emerging crop of online trading services such as SharesPost and SecondMarket facilitate share trading of unlisted Internet firms.

The probe is in a preliminary stage and appears to be partly focusing on funds that have been set up to allow investors to trade in private companies, the newspaper reported.

The regulator may also probe how the existence of funds affects an SEC rule that states that private companies must have fewer than 500 shareholders, or else publicly disclose significant financial information.

This was part of the reason Google Inc went public in 2003, the Financial Times said.

In recent months, the implied value of Facebook has risen more than 50 per cent, while the value of Twitter has more than doubled, the FT reported.

Early employees and investors in private companies have recently been selling their stock to buyers who want exposure to these fast-growing enterprises, the FT said.

(Reporting by Abhinav Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Derek Caney)

Sourced & npublished by Henry Sapiecha