Tencent is first Asian company to top US$500 billion

Tencent, headed by Pony Ma Huateng, has seen its stock price soar nearly 120 per cent so far this year. The Shenzhen-based company reported third quarter net income rose 69 per cent on year, beating market estimates.

Earnings were boosted by its smartphone games unit, including Honour of Kings, the fantasy role-playing “multiplayer online battle arena” game, and its efforts to derive more advertising revenue from its video streaming platform and WeChat messaging app.

Wechat’s user base reached 980 million at the end of September, helping drive the company’s digital content business.

Recruited to China’s National AI team

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology identified internet giants Baidu, Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings – collectively known as BAT – and voice intelligence specialist iFlyTek, as the first group to spur development of next generation AI technologies that are vital to everything from voice activated digital assistants to self-driving cars.

Baidu’s focus will be on autonomous driving; the cloud computing division of Alibaba is tasked with a project called “city brains”, a set of AI solutions to improve urban life, including smart transport; Tencent will focus on computer vision for medial diagnosis; while Shenzhen-listed iFlyTek, a dominant player in voice recognition, will specialise in voice intelligence.